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The Flu Vaccine and Guillian-Barre

A couple weeks ago I asked if the flu shot can make you sick. This week I am asking if the flu shot can give you Guillian-Barre syndrome (GBS). Here is a scary story about someone who suspects she got Guillian-Barre from a flu shot. It’s very ominous to me because although the CDC doesn’t list GBS as a possible complication from the flu shot, it does say that “people who developed Guillain-Barre syndrome (GBS) within 6 weeks of getting an influenza vaccine previously” should not get the flu shot. Why is this? If you look further on the CDC website you will find this: “It is thought that GBS may be triggered by an infection. The infection that most commonly precedes GBS is caused by a bacterium called Campylobacter jejuni. Other respiratory or intestinal illnesses and other triggers may also precede an episode of GBS. In 1976, vaccination with the swine flu vaccine was associated with getting GBS. Several studies have been done to evaluate if other flu vaccines since 1976 were associated with GBS. Only one of the studies showed an association. That study suggested that one person out of 1 million vaccinated persons may be at risk of GBS associated with the vaccine.” According to a CDC podcast, as many as 130 million doses of the vaccine will be manufactured. if you go by the one person out of one million from the one study, then could that mean that 130 people could be at risk for Guillian-Barre? Okay, so I know that this is a very loose extrapolation, but this is still kind of scary stuff.

On a much lighter note, while researching this post I came across this: The Shot Nurse It is basically a nurse-run clinic that offers immunizations, TB tests, and cholesterol checks among other things. They also contract out to visit businesses who do not have a full-time nurse and they also can provide health and wellness fairs. Not a bad idea for a nurses wanting to start their own businesses. I just liked the picture on their website. I could imagine that when people are walking along around that shopping center they take special steps to avoid having to walk by “The Shot Nurse.” It just sounds so scary.