Vaccinations against the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 which causes COVID-19 have been administered worldwide. We aimed to investigate associations of COVID-19 vaccination with the occurrence of Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS). We explored potential safety signals regarding the development of GBS using disproportionality analyses to compare COVID-19 vaccination with all adverse drug reaction (ADR) reports and influenza vaccines reported to VigiBase. As of October 15, 2021, a total of 2163 cases (0.13%) of GBS and its variants (including 46 cases of Miller-Fisher syndrome and 13 cases of Bickerstaff's encephalitis) were identified in entire ADR database after vaccination with the ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 (AstraZeneca, Cambridge, UK) or the two messenger RNA-based COVID-19 (BNT162b2; Pfizer and BioNTech) or mRNA-1273; Moderna) vaccines. The median time to onset of GBS after vaccination was around 2 weeks. The ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 and two messenger RNA-based COVID-19 vaccines demonstrated a higher risk for GBS against entire database (information component [IC]025 = 1.73 reporting odds ratio [ROR]025 = 3.51; IC025 = 1.07, ROR025 = 2.22, respectively). When compared with influenza vaccines, neither the ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 nor mRNA-based vaccines were found to be associated with greater risks of GBS (IC025 = −1.84, ROR025 = 0.11; IC025 = −1.86, ROR025 = 0.06, respectively). Although potential safety signals associated with GBS COVID-19 vaccines have been identified, the risk of GBS from COVID-19 vaccines were low and did not surpass those of influenza vaccines; however, because of the heterogeneity of the sources of information in the WHO pharmacovigilance database, further epidemiological studies are warranted to confirm these observations.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
The authors would like to thank VigiBase for giving us access to the data. The data supplied to VigiBase come from a variety of sources, and the likelihood of a causal relationship is not the same in all reports. This project was supported by grant from the Basic Science Research Program through the National Research Foundation of Korea funded by the Ministry of Education (2021R1F1A1048113 to Tae‐Jin Song).
© 2022 Peripheral Nerve Society.
- Guillain-Barré syndrome
- Guillain-Barré syndrome variants