Guillain-Barre Syndrome (GBS) is a potentially serious medical condition that affects the autoimmune system. While there is currently no known cure for GBS, many individuals who are diagnosed with GBS will see their symptoms subside over time, and the disorder can often be managed with appropriate care. But, since Guillain-Barre Syndrome can be related to the flu shot, does this mean that you should not get the flu shot if you’ve had GBS? Here is the latest information about Guillain Barre, flu shot injuries, and flu shot injury claims under the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (VICP).
CDC: Consult with Your Doctor Before Getting the Flu Shot if You’ve Had GBS
While the CDC recommends that most people get an annual flu shot, it also notes that getting the flu shot can be dangerous for some people. It discusses populations that may be at high risk for serious complications from the flu shot in an online resource titled, Who Should and Who Should NOT Get a Flu Vaccine.
These populations include individuals who have previously been diagnosed with Guillain Barre Syndrome. The CDC advises that, “[s]ome people with a history of GBS should not get a flu vaccine,” and it recommends that individuals who have been diagnosed with GBS consult with their doctors before getting a flu shot.
Additional Guidance from the American Academy of Neurology
The American Academy of Neurology (AAN) similarly recommends that GBS patients talk to their doctors about whether it is safe for them to get a flu shot. It also encourages individuals who have been diagnosed with Guillain-Barre Syndrome to consider the following factors when deciding whether to get immunized against influenza:
- “If your prior GBS occurred weeks after a flu vaccine, you should strongly consider avoiding future flu vaccines.”
- “[T]here is some evidence in the medical literature that suggests influenza illness might—although rarely—trigger cases of GBS.”
- “[T]here are many former GBS patients who have received subsequent flu vaccines without complication.”
- “[T]he likelihood of a recurrence of GBS following the flu vaccine is quite low. For example, the evidence in the medical literature suggests that less than 5 percent of former GBS patients will experience mild symptoms suggestive of a relapse following vaccination. These symptoms are almost always very mild and self-limiting.”
In short, there are factors that weigh both in favor of and against getting the flu shot following a Guillain-Barre Syndrome diagnosis. In light of these countervailing considerations, it is best for all patients to make informed decisions based on personalized medical advice.
What if You are Diagnosed with Guillain Barre After a Flu Shot?
Anyone who is diagnosed with Guillain Barre after a flu shot should continue to rely on the advice of experienced medical professionals. As noted above, while GBS is not treatable, it can often be managed. Individuals who are diagnosed with GBS after a flu shot should seek legal advice as well, as they may be entitled to financial compensation under the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (VICP). For more information, you can read Guillain Barre, the Flu Shot and What You Need to Know About Compensation.
We Handle Guillain Barre Flu Shot Claims Nationwide
Our firm handles Guillain Barre flu shot claims under the VICP on behalf of individuals and families nationwide. For a free, no-obligation consultation about your legal rights, please call 202-800-1711 or contact us online today.
Leah Durant Bio
Experienced litigation attorney Leah Durant focuses on representing clients in complex vaccine litigation matters. Leah Durant is the owner and principal attorney of the Law Offices of Leah V. Durant, PLLC, a litigation firm based in Washington, DC. Leah Durant and her staff represent clients and their families who suffer from vaccine-related injuries, adverse vaccine reactions and vaccine-related deaths. The Law Offices of Leah V. Durant, PLLC is dedicated to assisting individuals in recovering the highest level of compensation as quickly and efficiently as possible. To learn more, contact vaccine attorney Leah Durant today.
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