Authored by Ellen Wan via The Epoch Times (emphasis ours),
As the vaccination rate continues to rise, an increasing number of side effects are being reported. Research indicates that COVID-19 viral vector-based vaccines increase the risk of Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS) by three to four times compared to mRNA-based vaccines.
The Link Between Vaccines and Guillain-Barré Syndrome Risk
Increasing evidence suggests an association between COVID-19 vaccines and Guillain-Barré Syndrome. One study revealed an increase in GBS cases within 42 days of receiving the first dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine. The researchers suggest a potential link between the AstraZeneca vaccine and the increased risk of GBS.
In March, a prospective surveillance study published in Scientific Reports indicated that out of 38,828,691 doses of COVID-19 vaccine administered in Gyeonggi Province, South Korea, between February 2021 and March 2022, 105,409 adverse events were reported, including 55 cases of GBS.
After assessing the risk factors for GBS following COVID-19 vaccination, it was found that viral vector-based vaccines were linked to a three-to-fourfold higher risk of GBS compared to mRNA-based vaccines.
In terms of age and gender, the incidence of GBS was higher in individuals aged 60 and older compared to younger age groups, and it was more common in men than women.
Based on a vaccine mechanism evaluation, the incidence rate of GBS for viral vector-based vaccines was 4.49 cases per million doses, higher than mRNA-based vaccines (Pfizer and Moderna) which had an incidence rate of 0.80 cases per million doses.
The researchers are urging health care providers to closely monitor individuals following COVID-19 vaccination, especially men who received their first dose of viral vector-based vaccines.
Onset of GBS Following COVID-19 Vaccination
In 2021, the British Medical Journal published a case study in which a 48-year-old man from Malta experienced facial paralysis on the left side of his face 10 days after receiving the first dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine. He was diagnosed with Bell’s Palsy grade III and received treatment with prednisolone, an oral corticosteroid, as well as eye drops and eye care.
The patient had pre-existing blood lipid abnormalities before vaccination, but no other relevant medical history or history of infections.
The patient also experienced intense and excruciating pain in the central area of the back, with conventional pain relievers proving ineffective. Over the next 24 hours, the patient’s facial paralysis symptoms progressively worsened, and similar symptoms appeared on the right side of the face.
Three days later, the patient developed grade V facial nerve paralysis on both sides of the face, and the severe back pain persisted. However, neurological examinations did not reveal any defects. The patient underwent a lumbar puncture, which revealed elevated protein levels (1,264 milligrams per liter) and an excess of lymphocytes beyond normal values, leading to a diagnosis of GBS. Subsequently, the patient was discharged after an improvement in facial paralysis symptoms.
However, in less than 24 hours, the patient returned to the emergency department with symptoms including lower limb weakness, absent reflexes, foot drop, moderate weakness in the hands, and pain sensations when wearing gloves or long socks. The doctor administered intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIg) at a dosage of 2 grams per kilogram of body weight, which continued for five days, along with oral prednisolone.
Subsequently, the patient’s condition rapidly improved, with significant recovery in muscle strength and limb paralysis, and complete disappearance of the facial paralysis symptom. After undergoing intensive physical rehabilitation therapy, the patient regained the ability to function independently. A follow-up examination two months later revealed only mild weakness in both hand muscles.
Researchers believe that among the various side effects of different vaccines, neurological complications may be one of the most severe, thus causing the greatest concern.
GBS affects multiple peripheral nerves in the body (polyneuropathy). Peripheral neuropathy can also affect the nerves controlling functions of the heart and circulation system (cardiovascular autonomic neuropathy).
Symptoms of Guillain-Barré Syndrome
According to National Health Service in the UK, Guillain-Barré Syndrome is a rare and severe neurological disorder caused by an immune system dysfunction, with an extremely low incidence rate.
Under normal circumstances, the immune system attacks any pathogens that make their way into the body. When the immune system malfunctions, it can mistakenly attack and damage the nerves.
The symptoms of GBS typically begin in the hands and feet before spreading to the arms and legs. Common symptoms include numbness, pins and needles, muscle weakness, pain, as well as balance and coordination problems. These symptoms may worsen over the next few days or weeks and then gradually improve. In severe cases, GBS can lead to difficulties in walking, breathing, or swallowing. Occasionally, it can be life-threatening, and some individuals may experience long-term complications. If you experience any symptoms of GBS, it is crucial to seek immediate medical attention.
According to the latest records released by the Vaccine Injury Compensation Program of the Taiwan Ministry of Health and Welfare on Aug. 10, a total of 150 GBS cases related to adverse events following COVID-19 vaccination have been reviewed. Among them, a 56-year-old Mr. Tsai from Taipei experienced numbness in all four limbs, breathing difficulties, and unsteady walking after receiving the AstraZeneca vaccine. Additionally, two individuals who received the Moderna vaccine reported symptoms, including numbness and weakness in their upper and lower limbs, thigh pain, and more. All of them sought medical attention, and neurological tests confirmed Guillain-Barré Syndrome in all three cases. The Ministry of Health and Welfare offered compensation of TWD 450,000 (nearly $14 million), TWD 70,000 ($2,166), and TWD 250,000 (nearly $8000), respectively.
Treatment of GBS
According to the National Institutes of Health, there are currently two commonly used treatment methods to interrupt immune-related nerve damage: plasma exchange and intravenous immunoglobulin therapy. Both treatment options show no significant difference in effectiveness if started within two weeks of GBS symptoms onset.
1. Plasma exchange: This procedure involves extracting some of the patient’s blood through a catheter, treating it to remove blood cells, and then reintroducing it into the body. Plasma contains antibodies, and plasma exchange helps remove harmful antibodies that damage the nerves.
2. Intravenous immunoglobulin therapy: Immunoglobulins are proteins naturally produced by the immune system to target invading organisms. This therapy can lessen the immune system’s attack on the nervous system and shorten recovery time.
According to Taiwan’s Far Eastern Memorial Hospital, it is recommended to closely monitor fluctuations in heart rate and blood pressure, as well as regularly assess the degree of respiratory muscle weakness. This is crucial because the condition can progress to respiratory failure or lead to life-threatening arrhythmias, necessitating intubation or pacemaker implantation to maintain cardiopulmonary function. Additionally, pain management and early rehabilitation exercises can help alleviate symptoms and restore muscle strength.