Friday, May 3, 2013

Guillain-Barré Syndrome and Vaccinations: What Antivaxxers Don't Want You to Know

Antivaxxers have been known to tout out a risk of contracting Guillain-Barré Syndrome (GBS) as a reason to avoid all vaccines, and to be clear at one point in the 1970s there was a risk associated with a specific flu vaccine. However vaccines have changed, and according to a recent study that involved millions of patients, there is no discernible risk of contracting GBS after a vaccination.

The study, which was recently published in the Journal Clinical Infectious Diseases, determined the odds ratio of various vaccinations ranged from 0.7 to 1.4 with a 95% confidence interval. Therefore simply put... there is no evidence linking vaccines to GBS.

So how do you think antivaxxers would react to such a study? Surely they would at least mention it right?

Nope - a visit to "" finds zero references to this study. Maybe they should change their name to "" instead.

So how about our friends over at they claim they just want people to be informed of the risks of vaccination so they would have no reason to hide this information right? Nope... they don't have a single reference, although they do include several references to the debunked claims about other vaccines causing GBS (it seems they are willing to post anecdotes, but they shy away from peer-reviewed science).

How about No luck there either... they have several articles speaking of the issue with flu vaccines in the 1970s, but no mention of current science produced on the issue. Apparently the last 40 years if scientific research aren't all that important when you have an agenda to push.

An interesting point about NaturalNews is how often they continue to claim vaccines are associated with GBS as if it continues to occur and how they don't even bother to look for any study that might prove or even suggest such a link.  In some cases, they won't even make the claim about vaccines causing GBS directly, but rather they will make statements such as "some experts say" vaccines can cause GBS etc. as well as making claims that new vaccines will cause GBS even before the vaccines hit the market.

Then again... NaturalNews isn't really known for relying upon science and has even been known to post unpublished 'studies' while presenting them as accepted fact.  They have also made it clear they aren't fans of vaccines for any reason, even going so far as to claim that vaccines are a "total hoax".  Needless to say they aren't shy about their obvious bias.

So what does all of this mean?  Well for starters it tells us that these "vaccination information" centers aren't really concerned with telling the whole story about vaccines and rather they are simply concerned with hiding legitimate science from the people who happen to frequent their pages.  That in itself isn't really news as we have known that all along, but what does this particular study mean to antivaxxers?

The simple reality is, studies like this one are just more nails in the coffin of the arguments that vaccines cause more harm than good.  As antivaxxers make claims about vaccines, they are repeatedly and routinely shot down time and time again.  They have people like Andrew Wakefield claim vaccines cause autism, and he is later found to be nothing more than a fraud.  They claim vaccine ingredients such as thimerosal cause autism, yet studies show the rate of autism doesn't change one bit after thimerosal is removed from practically all childhood vaccines.  They try to blame the aluminum content of vaccines as being a potential killer, yet fail to acknowledge the amount of aluminum in our bodies and in the environment around us. They complain that vaccines cause conditions such as GBS, and studies overwhelmingly show that not to be the case.  They claim the Amish don't get autism because they don't vaccinate, and research proves that not only do the Amish vaccinate, they also have been known to have autism.

Whether it be the argument about "too many, too soon" or the debunked claims about vaccine safety it seems the only things antivaxxers are really good at is not paying attention, and putting their fingers into their ears while yelling "na na na na, I can't hear you".  Yet these are the same people who complain when they aren't taken seriously within the medical and scientific community.  Isn't it ironic?


  1. I'll let our local GP know. He seems not to have caught up with that. All people having free (read:taxpayer-funded) jabs have to state on the consent form, whether they have had GBS. If they have, no flu jabs for them.

  2. That's to funny, in your first paragraph you tell of evidence that the flu vaccine, in that particular 70's situation it was the swine flu vaccine. And in the very next paragraph you site an obviously highly biased, Journal Clinical Infectious Diseases study, and claim that therefore simply put... there is no evidence linking vaccines to GBS. You just previously cited the fact that vaccines can cause GBS, do you realize that? A simple Pubmed and or a VAERS data search can easily show evidence that vaccines can cause GBS; get real. And it is not rare. Maybe you should call the Mayo Clinic neurologists and actually finds out how many cases they see, and what their opinion is on it. There are doctors there that have and do admit the connection, and to more than just GBS.

    Then you go on to state:

    So how do you think antivaxxers would react to such a study? Surely they would at least mention it right?

    I would just hate to burst your bubble, but we do not site that study because we do not accept highly biased studies, when there are plenty of other studies that indeed highly suggest or do show that vaccines can and do cause GBS. There are as well several inconclusive studies. So, hard and fast, Editor you go right to your said claims, based on one single study? Do you ever consider the bulk of the studies, or any unbiased studies without pharma and CDC connected influence? Instead of taking a small snap shot of a crime scene; wouldn't you attempt to get several pictures of the whole scene? Do you understand my comparison?

    GBS is a small part of the whole picture of vaccine harm; and to put it plainly as to the issues we generally have bigger fish to focus on and fry, than to waste a lot of time on the GBS issue; which for most people it would be obvious due to the potential neurological effect of vaccines, how and why vaccines would and could create GBS.

    Then you go further down the article to make the same old worn out and false claims as to all of that which has been shown repeatedly to be false information; nothing changes, does it. And who ever said that aluminum in vaccines was a potential killer? You do not even have the issues stated correctly. If I were you I would re-look up what debunked actually means, because I do not think based in reality that you have any actual comprehension of the term.

    1. Mr. Hubbs, I would think you would be able to discern the difference between the past and the present which was fairly obvious in the blog post. Then again you're a man who still cannot understand the difference between "to" and "too" even after I've told you a dozen times, thus I'm sure your reading comprehension level isn't quite at the level required to understand scientific concepts.

      Now as far as you "not accepting highly biased studies", I'm not actually referring to your Mr. Hubbs. You are a man who has been known to cite and who thinks you can cure cancer with a substance extracted from urine - it is painfully obvious you have no idea how to discern biased from unbiased information.

      What I as referring to are the well known antivaxxer websites (those which I specifically call out in the blog post). What you post on your blog is up to you - but you aren't exactly known for your discerning taste when it comes to unbiased information. I do find the humor in the fact that you seem to want to speak for the antivaxxer community however.

      That's rich. Let me know when you get your own column on a well known anti-vaxxer website or when you are asked to be a keynote speaker at an anti-vaxxer conference. That will be the day Mr. Hubbs!


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