Guillain Barre Syndrome After Flu Shot

If you have ever had an adverse reaction to a vaccine, you likely feel confused and scared. You might be wondering, “How could this happen? Vaccines are supposed to keep me safe, not hurt me”. Unfortunately, vaccines do cause injury in rare cases. Guillain-Barré syndrome is one of the most common injuries. If you have been diagnosed with Guillain-Barré Syndrome after receiving a vaccine, you could be eligible for compensation through the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (NVICP).

Guillain-Barré Syndrome (GBS) is a rare neurological disorder in which your body's immune system attacks your nerves. While the exact cause of GBS is unknown, it is thought to be triggered when the immune system overreacts to an infection or injury. There have been reports of GBS occurring after vaccination against flu, meningitis, tetanus, and other vaccines.

The CDC monitors GBS cases during each flu season, and the correlation between the seasonal flu shot and GBS has varied from season to season. Although the chances of developing GBS following a vaccine are limited, it does happen.

If you have experienced any of the symptoms of GBS after receiving a vaccine, it is important to speak with a medical professional and experienced vaccine injury attorney right away.

Download Our Guide to Vaccine-Related Injuries



GBS is often confused with other neurological disorders since they have similar symptoms. GBS often begins with tingling and weakness that starts in one portion of the body and expands to the rest. The muscle weakness can also contribute to loss of muscle control, making it difficult to walk or control facial muscles.

Other signs and symptoms of Guillain-Barré Syndrome include:

  • Weakness in the legs that spreads to the upper body
  • Unsteady walking or inability to walk or climb stairs
  • Double vision, inability to move the eyes, and loss of eye control
  • Severe pain that may feel achy, shooting or cramp-like and may be worse at night
  • Difficulty with bladder control or bowel function
  • Pricking or pins and needles sensation in the hands and/or feet
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Low or high blood pressure
  • Difficulty breathing, swallowing, speaking, and/or chewing

In the most extreme cases, Guillain-Barré can lead to paralysis and even death.

The most significant symptoms of GBS are usually experienced within two to four weeks of the initial symptoms beginning. If you have any of these symptoms after receiving a vaccine, seek medical attention immediately.



There is no cure for Guillain-Barré syndrome but there are treatments that can speed up recovery and help reduce symptoms.

  • Plasma exchange (plasmapheresis) - The most common form of treatment is plasmapheresis which involves removing the plasma from your blood and replacing it with healthy plasma. This helps to reduce the number of antibodies in your system and can be very effective in treating GBS.
  • Immunoglobulin therapy - Healthy antibodies from Immunoglobulin is given through a vein (intravenously). High doses of immunoglobulin can block the damaging antibodies that may contribute to GBS.


Individuals who have suffered from Guillain-Barré Syndrome after receiving a vaccine can be compensated through the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (NVICP) if the GBS resulted from a covered vaccine. GBS is most commonly preceded by seasonal and childhood vaccines such as influenza, MMR, TDaP and DTaP.

The NVICP is a federal program that was created to compensate people who have been injured by certain vaccines. In order to take advantage of the program, you must file a petition with the U.S. Court of Federal Claims. There are specific rules that must be followed when submitting a claim. An experienced vaccine attorney can help you navigate the process and help ensure that you receive the compensation you deserve.



Since its creation, there have been thousands of petitions filed with the NVICP. Here are some relevant statistics from January 2006 through December of 2019.

  • 567 petitions were filed for the DTaP vaccine with 249 of those receiving compensation
  • 1,113 petitions were filed for the TDaP vaccine with 607 of those receiving compensation
  • 1,099 petitions were filed for the MMR vaccine with 420 of those receiving compensation
  • 8,537 petitions were filed for the flu shot with 4,899 of those receiving compensation

Typically, someone is compensated for their vaccine claim about 40 percent of the time. Having an experienced vaccine attorney on your side can increase your odds.

You can also better your chances of receiving compensation by following your doctor’s instructions, keeping medical appointments, and keeping records of your symptoms.



The amount of compensation you can receive is dependent on your situation, the severity of your symptoms, and how long they lasted. With some exceptions, there typically is no set compensation amount for specific vaccine injuries. However, depending on the severity of your vaccine-related injuries and damages, the compensation you receive can be substantial. To get a general idea of much you can expect to receive, you can add up your vaccine-injury-related medical bills, out-of-pocket expenses, and lost wages. You can also be compensated for pain and suffering, although that is difficult to calculate on your own since you don’t have any ‘receipt’ for it.

Receiving compensation through the NVICP is complex, which is why it’s important to consult with a vaccine injury lawyer. An experienced vaccine attorney will be able to help you better understand your options.

Guillain-Barré syndrome is a serious condition that can lead to paralysis and even death. You may be entitled to compensation for your injuries through the NVICP. Don't wait. There are deadlines to file your claim. The experienced vaccine lawyers at the Law Offices of DuPont and Blumenstiel can help. Call us today at 614-389-9711 for a case evaluation.


Want to know more about the NVICP? Download our Consumer's Guide to Vaccine-Related Injuries.