Guillain-Barré Linked To COVID-19 Vaccines?

What is causign Guillain-Barré syndrome?

What is Guillain-Barré syndrome?  

Swine Flu Vaccines in 1976 Were Linked To Guillain-Barré Syndrome

Guillain-Barré occurs when the body’s own immune system attacks and injures the nerves outside of the spinal cord or brain – the peripheral nervous system. Most commonly, the injury involves the protective sheath, or myelin, that wraps nerves and is essential to nerve function.

Without the myelin sheath, signals that go through a nerve are slowed or lost, which causes the nerve to malfunction.

To diagnose Guillain-Barre Syndrome, neurologists perform a detailed neurological exam. Due to the nerve injury, patients often may have a loss of reflexes on examination. Doctors often need to perform a lumbar puncture, otherwise known as a spinal tap, to sample spinal fluid and look for signs of inflammation and abnormal antibodies.

Studies have shown that giving patients an infusion of antibodies derived from donated blood or plasma exchange – a process that cleans patients’ blood of harmful antibodies - can speed up recovery. A very small subset of patients may need these therapies long-term.

What is causign Guillain-Barré syndrome?

The FDA reports that 12.5 million doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine have been administered — about 8% of the population of fully vaccinated people in the United States. As of July 13, 2021 (the day the FDA issued its warning), 100 cases of Guillain-Barré had been reported in individuals who received that vaccine. Of those cases, 95 were considered serious and required hospitalization; one case resulted in death.  

GBS symptoms usually develop within two days and start in the extremities

Symptoms of GBS typically develop within 42 days of vaccination, and the first symptom is often numbness or tingling in your hands or feet.

“The typical progression of GBS is from the legs up to the arms over a one-week to four-week period,” Dr. Levin says. “That can be accompanied by progressive heaviness and weakness in the legs the arms — and later on, there can be difficulty with swallowing and breathing, but those are unlikely to be initial presentations.”

Although the Johnson & Johnson shot is the only COVID-19 vaccine that has been linked to Guillain-Barré syndrome, it’s not the first time a vaccine has been linked to the disorder.

In rare cases, people have developed GBS after receiving the flu shot — about one case of GBS for every 1 million influenza vaccines administered. But why?

“There’s evidence that GBS is an autoimmune reaction in which the body produces antibodies directed toward myelin, the insulation of the nerves,” Dr. Levin explains. “Vaccines tend to rev up your immune system, which could rev up antibodies that recognize different tissues within your body as foreign — even though, of course, they are not foreign.”

It’s worth noting that, aside from the flu vaccine, there’s currently no conclusive association between GBS and other vaccines, though it hasn’t been ruled out, either.

Other symptoms of GBS may include:

Back pain.

Muscle weakness.

Heart rate or blood pressure problems.

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