Without evidence of benefit, an intervention should not be presumed to be beneficial or safe.

- Rogue Medic

Lack of Association of Guillain-Barré Syndrome With Vaccinations


Don’t expect the self-proclaimed vaccine safety organizations to write about this, unless they are claiming that it is a part of some sort of international conspiracy of governments, universities, private companies, and other research organizations.

They are not interested in safety.

They are interested in creating fear and making money off of the fear they create.

Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS) is an acute inflammatory polyradiculoneuropathy affecting primarily motor neurons, which in severe cases can progress to complete paralysis and even death. Estimates of GBS incidence are in the range of 1–2 cases per 100 000 person-years worldwide, and increase with age [1, 2]. Although the causes are unknown, GBS is thought to be an autoimmune process that is triggered by antigenic stimulation [3, 4], resulting in demyelination and destruction of peripheral nerves.[1]


Vaccines affect the immune system, so there is the hypothetical possibility of a physiologic justification of a connection between vaccination and GBS.

Is that the way GBS works?

In many cases, the syndrome is temporally associated with an infectious disease; most published case series report that approximately two-thirds of all cases are preceded by a gastrointestinal or respiratory infection within the prior 3 months [1]. Campylobacter enteritis is the most common trigger, but influenza [5], cytomegalovirus, Epstein-Barr virus, human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), and Mycoplasma pneumoniae, among others, have been implicated as well [4, 6, 7]. [1]


Vaccines affect the immune system by strengthening the immune system to better fight infection.

Infection appears to be a cause, while vaccination protects against infection.

Click on the image to make it larger/display fully.

There is an editorial in the same issue. The authors have no conflicts of interest, but they provide further information about the possible association of GBS with vaccination.

Questions have been raised about Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS) after vaccinations since the 1976 Swine flu vaccine was associated with a 7- to 8-fold increased risk for GBS in the 6 weeks after vaccination, resulting in about 1 excess case of GBS per 100 000 vaccinees.[2]


Has there been any other association in the 37 years since 1976?

In this issue of Clinical Infectious Diseases, Baxter and colleagues [15] examined the risk of GBS after administration of various vaccines, including influenza, tetanus, diphtheria, pneumococcal polysaccharide, and others, and they found no evidence of an association between GBS and vaccination.[2]


No evidence of any association of any vaccine with GBS.

The conclusion of the editorial is something the vaccine denialists need to understand.

Even if there was a risk of 1–2 cases per million for GBS, this risk is greatly outweighed by the benefits of vaccination.[2]


Vaccine denialism is about ignoring the real risks of not getting vaccinated, but complaining about the much more rare risks of vaccination.

Are the vaccine risks real?

Probably not, but even if vaccines cause some harm, the danger from not getting vaccinated is much greater.

Whether for our children, or ourselves, vaccination is the safe thing to do.


[1] Lack of association of guillain-barre syndrome with vaccinations.
Baxter R, Bakshi N, Fireman B, Lewis E, Ray P, Vellozzi C, Klein NP.
Clin Infect Dis. 2013 Jul;57(2):197-204. doi: 10.1093/cid/cit222. Epub 2013 Apr 11.
PMID: 23580737 [PubMed – in process]

[2] Editorial commentary: guillain-barre syndrome and vaccinations.
Salmon DA, Halsey NA.
Clin Infect Dis. 2013 Jul;57(2):205-7. doi: 10.1093/cid/cit218. Epub 2013 Apr 11. No abstract available.
PMID: 23580736 [PubMed – in process]

Baxter R, Bakshi N, Fireman B, Lewis E, Ray P, Vellozzi C, & Klein NP (2013). Lack of association of guillain-barre syndrome with vaccinations. Clinical infectious diseases : an official publication of the Infectious Diseases Society of America, 57 (2), 197-204 PMID: 23580737

Salmon DA, Halsey NA. (2013). Editorial commentary: guillain-barre syndrome and vaccinations. Clin Infect Dis., 57 (2), 205-207 DOI: 10.1093/cid/cit218


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