Articles Posted in Vaccine Injury

Although Guillain Barre Syndrome is thought to be the result of an infectious illness in the weeks prior to the onset of GBS (Over 60% of GBS cases are associated with prior acute infection by several bacterial species and viruses),  the Federal Court of Claims has come to accept that GBS can also be caused by vaccination, specifically the influenza / flu vaccination. The objective in filing a claim with the Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (VICP) is to demonstrate the substantially probability that the influenza vaccine activated the immune system against components of the nervous system similar to its activation by viral  or bacterial  infection in non-vaccinated  GBS cases.

The most commonly proposed mechanism for the development of autoimmune disease is molecular mimicry. This is a strong theory advocated by neurologist experts in arguing for the role of flu vaccination in the development of GBS. Molecular mimicry refers to a situation where the pathogen and host (ie. the human body) share nearly  identical antigens, which induces an antibody and T cell immune response that is cross reactive, meaning the antibody reacts with similar sites across a wide spectrum of proteins. There are multiple ways in which an immune response can become cross-reactive.   The strongest evidence for the molecular mimicry hypothesis has come from discoveries in research with jejuni strains, the most  common pathogen associated  with GBS.

A neurologist expert in a vaccine causation case will argue that it is substantially probable that the influenza vaccine triggered the immunological  reaction  that  causes GBS or variant Miller  Fisher Syndrome by  molecular mimicry or non specific activation of the immune system. The immune system could  recognize the vaccine and the victim may share nearly identical antigens, which induces an antibody  and T cell immune  response that  is cross reactive. Many Special Masters, who review and decide GBS flu cases filed in the Court of Federal Claims, are aware of molecular mimicry, and the theory is generally widely accepted as a basis for causation. Lately, the Department of Health and Human Services has accepted the link between flu vaccine and GBS provided there is no evidence of an alterative form of causation such as a gastrointestinal or upper respiratory illness. Consequently, GBS flu cases are proceeding much more quickly through the Vaccine Injury Compensation Program without the need for neurology experts. Baseluos Law Firm is well versed in the handling of GBS flu vaccine injury cases, and has obtained settlements of several hundred thousand dollars each for individual claimants.

GBS can be one of the most debilitating, difficult neurological reactions following vaccination. A client with GBS who comes to Baseluos Law Firm is often burdened by long rehabilitation stays, invasive surgery including lumbar puncture and Intravenous Immunoglobulin (IVIG), and new restrictions on their ability to produce income and lead a normal life. The Vaccine Injury Compensation Program will demand that a petitioner suffer residual symptoms of their injury for at least six months after their injury or major surgery. Often, GBS vaccine injury victims have no problem meeting the 6 month threshold as the various tingling, numbness, foot drop, temperature sensitivity, and general fatigue can linger for years after the first line of treatment. GBS vaccine injury victims often have strong claims for past and future suffering, past and future income loss, and past and future out of pocket medical costs.

In the course of recovery, the GBS victim will eventually walk without assistance. However, they may still continue to experience residual symptoms, including excessive fatigue, especially when exercising as well as fasciculations, which are brief, spontaneous contractions of the muscles. Michael Baseluos has witnessed GBS clients who even years after their initial vaccine injury, still experience  paresthesia in both hands and easily fluctuating blood pressure  and heart rate than prior to GBS.  Rippling of the muscles under the eyelids and over the  cheek along with intermittent diarrhea may also be present. White matter changes on the MRI is another tell tale sign of GBS sequelae, or long term consequences related to Guillain Barre.  These findings are suggestive of autonomic dysfunction.   There is no cure for the disorder, but several treatments can ease pain and reduce the duration of the illness. Most people recover completely from even the most severe cases of GBS. GBS survivors will return to some normalcy but these type of residual symptoms can still persist, forming a strong basis for compensation for future pain and suffering, income loss, and out of pocket medical costs.

In cases where the client was healthy before a flu shot, the government has a much more difficult time arguing that  influenza infection, upper respiratory or gastrointestinal infection are the culprits behind Guillain Barre Syndrome. About two thirds of GBS cases have an antecedent infection within six weeks prior to symptom onset, generally an upper respiratory tract infection or gastroenteritis.   Epstein-Barr  virus, Mycoplasma pneumoniae, Campylobacter jejuni and cytomegalovirus, are some of the non-vaccine infectious agents.

The most common vaccine shot associated with the development of Guillain Barre Syndrome (GBS) is the influenza flu shot. Most people receive the influenza vaccination to reduce the risks associated with the flu. New influenza vaccines are formulated every year due to ever changing influenza viruses. Since 1979, the vaccines are trivalent, using strains of influenza A (H1N1), influenza A (H3N2), and influenza B viruses.

The first known association between GBS and the flu shot became apparent during a mass vaccination program in the United States with a swine influenza vaccine in 1976-1977. It should be noted that in 1976, an influenza outbreak occurred in Fort Dix NJ. The outbreak was traced to swine-type influenza A (H1N1). In reaction to the outbreak and the danger from an epidemic from swine influenza, the United States Department of Health and Human Services instituted a mass vaccination of the US population. Approximately fifty (50) million adults were vaccinated during the short three (3) month interval from October – December 1976. Of the mass numbers vaccinated, there were over five hundred (500) cases of Guillain Barre Syndrome including thirty (30) deaths. A study of the incidence of GBS discovered that there was an elevated risk of Guillain Barre Syndrome within six to eight (6-8) weeks of vaccination. Following the elevated GBS risk, the government ordered the cessation of the swine flu vaccination program in early 1977. A GBS flu shot injury attorney will refer to the swine flu incident as the strongest evidence of a causation link.


Other studies have confirmed a causal relationship between the 1976 swine influenza vaccine and GBS onset in the adult population. According to the Vaccine Adverse Events Reporting System (VAERS), there was an increase in GBS reports in 1992-1993 and 1993-1994 associated with the influenza vaccine, with data suggesting an increased risk within six (6) weeks following influenza vaccination. VAERS is a system employed by the United States for rapid reporting of adverse events following vaccination. The US Federal Court of Claims often inquires as to whether a VAERS report was filed following an adverse reaction to a vaccination.

An evaluation of trends of reports to VAERS of Guillain Barre Syndrome following the flu shot in adults reflected that there was a possible causal association between GBS and influenza vaccine. There was an average of onset of GBS about two (2) weeks after the vaccination and few cases of preexisting illnesses that could possibly explain the onset. A Guillain Barre vaccination injury lawyer will emphasize the timing of the onset of peak symptoms.

Between 1990 through 2005, there were over one thousand (1000) cases of GBS reported after vaccination. In the majority of cases, symptoms appeared within six (6) weeks of vaccination. GBS cases were most prevalent following the influenza vaccine followed by the Hepatitis B vaccine. For adults, there was a greater incidence of Guillain Barre under 65. The peak GBS symptoms appeared within two (2) weeks post vaccination. There appears to be a bell curve with greatest number of incidents reaching a peak at two (2) weeks with declining numbers approaching the six (6) week mark post vaccination. Over eight hundred (800) cases of GBS were reported in the US between 1990 through 2009 following the flu shot of which about half were men.

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Guillain Barre Syndrome (GBS) is a clinical neuromuscular syndrome that can cause paralysis (temporarily and sometimes permanently) in individuals who receive the influenza / flu vaccination. Generally, GBS is characterized by weakness and numbness. Some individuals complain of a tingling sensation in the legs and arms with minor to major loss of movement in the legs, arms, upper body, and face. Some people will show a contortion of the face from GBS similar to the physical drooping from a stroke. GBS usually starts as a ascending paralysis characterized by weakness in the legs, moving its way up to the upper limbs and face with a loss of deep tendon reflexes.

For the most part, Guillain Barre Syndrome is triggered by an upper respiratory or gastrointestinal infection although the etiology (cause) of GBS is not exactly known. It can be a potentially deadly disorder and affects up to 2 people per 100,000. Unfortunately GBS has no known cure although several treatments can alleviate symptoms and lower the length of the disorder. For the most part, people recover fully from severe cases of GBS.


There is great debate in the vaccine community about the link between the flu vaccination and Guillain Barre Syndrome. The Vaccine Court for the most part has accepted the theory that the influenza vaccination can replace upper respiratory or gastrointestinal infection as the triggering factor for GBS and the Miller Fischer variant of GBS.

If you believe you have been injured by a vaccine, it is imperative that you contact a vaccine lawsuit attorney . There is a three (3) year statute of limitations on vaccine compensation claims.

When a person’s vaccine injury is listed in the vaccine injury table and the injury occurred within the time provided in the table, then causation (the link between the vaccine and the injury) is presumed. A person may still receive compensation when the injury is not listed in the vaccine injury table, but the petitioner must show that their condition was caused by the vaccine (known as the preponderance of the evidence standard).

A vaccine injury lawyer employs several methods to demonstrate causation by a preponderance of the evidence. First, the attorney may show via experts and scientific research that it is medically plausible for the vaccine to have caused the injury. For example, in cases of GBS flu injury, a common scientific theory used by neurologists is molecular mimicry. Second, it is helpful that there is peer-reviewed medical literature supporting an association between the vaccine and alleged disability. The vaccine lawyer may also demonstrate that the petitioner’s injury is medically accepted as a reaction to the vaccine and that the injury took place within a medically accepted window of time after the vaccine to reflect causation.

As more Americans take vaccines from injury into well into their senior years, injuries from vaccines will inevitably follow. An ensuing injury of Guillain Barre syndrome from the flu vaccine is one of the most common claims.

The National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program was established to provide compensation to those individuals who have suffered an illness, disability, injury, or even death from a vaccine. The standard by which the Court of Federal Claims determines a link is known as a preponderance of the evidence. Simply put, is it likely that the injury complained of was in fact caused by the vaccine.

To determine causation in a vaccine injury case, the special master (the term given to what is traditionally the judge in most civil matters) makes a finding of causation based on medical records and / or medical opinion. Simple claims of injury by the complainant or petitioner are not enough to warrant compensation. Besides examining medical and scientific evidence, the special master pays heavy attention to diagnoses or conclusions made by medical professionals regarding causation of the petitioner’s conditions. Medical professionals can also comment on residual long-term effects of the vaccine injury.

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