Incidence of guillain-barré syndrome is not associated with influenza vaccination in the elderly

Hankil Lee, Hye Young Kang, Sun Young Jung, Young Mock Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


We aimed to analyze the incidence of Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS) and its association with influenza vaccination (IV) in the elderly population. This study included 2470 patients hospitalized with GBS (G61.0) between 2014 and 2016 based on the Korean National Health Insurance Service (NHIS) claims data. We reviewed every medical claim in the 42 days preceding GBS diagnosis looking for precedent causes of GBS. To assess the relationship between IV and the development of GBS, data from the NHIS and the National Vaccination Registry were combined and analyzed. Using a self-controlled case series (SCCS) approach, we calculated the incidence rate ratio by setting the risk period as 42 days following vaccination. The annual background incidence of GBS was estimated at 4.15 per 100,000 persons. More than half of the patients with newly developed GBS had a previous infection or surgery. The incidence of GBS within 42 days of IV was estimated at 0.32 per 100,000 vaccinated persons. SCCS analysis showed that the risk of GBS was not significantly higher. While GBS can potentially develop from various infections, no association was found between GBS and IV. These results will contribute to developing an evidence-based vaccine policy that includes a clear causality assessment of adverse events.

Original languageEnglish
Article number431
Pages (from-to)1-13
Number of pages13
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2020 Sept

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Funding: This research was funded by the Korea Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, grant number 2018-E2402-00. The funding source was not involved in the study design, data collection, data analysis, interpretation of data, writing of the report, or the decision to submit the article for publication.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Immunology
  • Pharmacology
  • Drug Discovery
  • Infectious Diseases
  • Pharmacology (medical)


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