Yes. It is right on the insert! Let’s get into it…
Have you heard of Guillain Barré Syndrome? This is an auto immune disease that attacks the myelin sheath surrounding your nerves. This leads to weakness, numbness, and paralysis that moves upward normally starting around your feet. It can lead to difficulty walking, loss of bladder control, and in 20-30% of cases difficulty breathing. 3-5% of the GBS cases are fatal. (WHO GBS Key Facts, 2016) There is no known cure for this seemingly strange disease. The cause of this disease remains a “mystery.”
Did you know that straight from the mayo clinic it isn’t such a mystery anymore? “…..vaccination can trigger Guillain-Barre syndrome.” What, they actually admit that? I thought they told us that vaccines were safe…
Wait but there is more. From this page at the mayo clinic under risk factors, “Rarely, influenza vaccinations or childhood vaccinations.” So let me get this straight, getting the flu vaccine or a childhood vaccine is a known risk factor for this sometimes fatal paralysis?
Let’s take a look at the flu vaccine insert to see what it says about GBS.
Here are Post-Marketing Experiences with the flu vaccine (Sanofi Pasteur
450/477 Fluzone® Quadrivalent)
That means that all of the, “following events have been spontaneously reported during the post-approval use of Fluzone (trivalent) or Fluzone Quadrivalent.” Package Insert Fluzone® Quadrivalent
• “Blood and Lymphatic System Disorders: Thrombocytopenia, lymphadenopathy
• Immune System Disorders: Anaphylaxis, other allergic/hypersensitivity reactions (including urticaria, angioedema)
• Eye Disorders: Ocular hyperemia
• Nervous System Disorders: Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS), convulsions, febrile convulsions, myelitis (including encephalomyelitis and transverse myelitis), facial palsy (Bell’s palsy), optic neuritis/neuropathy, brachial neuritis, syncope (shortly after vaccination), dizziness, paresthesia
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• Vascular Disorders: Vasculitis, vasodilatation/flushing
• Respiratory, Thoracic and Mediastinal Disorders: Dyspnea, cough, wheezing, throat tightness, oropharyngeal pain, rhinorrhea
• Skin and Subcutaneous Tissue Disorders: Rash, pruritus, and Stevens-Johnson syndrome
• General Disorders and Administration Site Conditions: Asthenia/fatigue, pain in extremities, chest pain
• Gastrointestinal Disorders: Vomiting”
It also state on the package insert under warnings and precautions….”If Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS) has occurred within 6 weeks following previous influenza vaccination, the decision to give Fluzone Quadrivalent
should be based on careful consideration of the potential benefits and risks.”
So in summary they know that the flu vaccine can and has caused the sometimes fatal paralysis Guillain-Barré syndrome.
Good to know when you go to get your flu shot next year to remember it can paralyze you. At least being aware of that means you can decide for yourself if it is worth the risk….