ICWA News & Views

Weekly Stories about What’s Happening in Washington State and Stories of Interest to Washingtonions

by Gerald Braude

Eighteen Cases Reported of Guillain-Barre Syndrome in Washington After COVID-19 Shots

According to the Mayo Clinic, Guillain-Barre syndrome is a rare disorder in which the body’s immune system attacks the body’s nerves. Weakness and tingling in the extremities are usually the first symptoms. The sensations can quickly spread and possibly paralyze the whole body.  There is no known cure for Guillain-Barre syndrome, but several treatments can ease symptoms and reduce the duration of the illness.

Guillain-Barre syndrome – Symptoms and causes – Mayo Clinic

The Vaccine Adverse Effects Reporting System (VAERS) on the Center for Disease Control (CDC) web site shows eighteen reported cases of Guillain-Barre Syndrome in Washington after the COVID-19 shots.   

Search Results from the VAERS Database (medalerts.org)

In July 2021, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a warning  for the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 shot due to its link to Guillain-Barre Syndrome. 

Johnson & Johnson vaccine and Guillain-Barré: FDA adds new warning related to rare autoimmune disorder – The Washington Post

Four such cases for the Johnson and Johnson (Janssen) shot occurred in Washington state. The youngest case was the first of the four reported. The VAERS ID 1166746 was entered April 4, 2021. Twelve days after taking the first dose, the 39-year-old female felt numbness and weakness in her feet, which progressed to her hands and then her whole body. The end of the submitted write-up reads, “Diagnosis is Guillain-Barre syndrome. Remains hospitalized and receiving IVIG.” The last case entered was on July 21, 2021. VAERS ID 1490563 was a 56-year-old female who began feeling symptoms fourteen days after receiving the shot on June 6, 2021. She developed back pain and pain in her torso that spread to the extremities, She then developed paresthesias, dysesthesia, and shortness of breath. The end of the submitted write-up reads,  “The patient has been diagnosed with AIDP/Guillian-Barre.” The other two entries were a 55-year-old male (VAERS ID 1382577) and a 68-year-old female (VAERS ID 1475203). 

Pfizer has the most reports of Guillain-Barre syndrome. The most recent of those eight entries, April 18 of this year, is also the youngest of all the entries in Washington for Guillain-Barre syndrome following the COVID-19 shot. VAERS ID 2238676 is a 5-year-old male whose onset began nineteen days after taking a second Pfizer shot on December 4, 2021.  His submitted write-up says his “Brain MRI showed diffuse cauda equine nerve root thickening and enhancement (greatest ventrally) and mild leptomeningeal enhancement circumscribing the conus; all suggestive of an acute inflammatory demyelinating polyradiculopathy (AIDP, GBS). On April 7, 2022, he was re-admitted to the hospital due to worsening ascending weakness, a new progress of nausea / headache in morning, a worsening of his ptosis (which had never completely resolved since first appearing on December 23, 2021) and blurry vision.” The end of the submitted write-up says that he “Continues to follow with Neurology and Rehab / Therapy.” 

The other seven entries for Pfizer into VAERS are for the ages forty-two and above. They are as follows: 

VAERS ID 1638445 of a 42-year-old male entered on August 27, 2021, who had numbness and weakness in the lower extremities six days after a first Pfizer shot. 

VAERS ID 1526242 of a 46-year-old male entered on August 4, 2021, who had four falls and was in the hospital for one month. The last of the submitted write-up says he’s been in a wheelchair since April. 

VAERS ID 1901939 of a 53-year-old male entered on November 26, 2021, who had muscle weakness and joint swelling after the shot and before his Guillain-Barre diagnosis. 

VAERS ID 1089444 of a 57-year-old male entered on March 10, 2021 with the following start of the submitted write-up: Miller Fisher syndrome, an acute inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy (GBS) variant.

VAERS ID 1086367of a 58-year-old male entered on March 9, 2021. 

VAERS ID 2091219 of a 59-year-old in which the sex has not been entered. 

VAERS ID 1902197 of a 69-year-old male entered on November 26, 2021, who after a third Pfizer shot noticed weakness of both legs, such that he had difficulty lifting his legs to get into his work truck. The weakness progressed over the next few days to the point that even walking was difficult, necessitating the use of a walking cane.

The remaining six entries of Guillain-Barre syndrome are from the Moderna COVID-19 shots. 

The youngest is a 19-year-old female (VAERS ID 1464471) with an entry date of July 12, 2021. At the time of the entry, she was in the hospital with the suspicion of Guillain-Barre syndrome. The second youngest entry is a 27-year-old female (VAERS ID 1052705) with an entry date of February 24, 2021, the first Washington entry into VAERS for Guillain-Barre following a COVID-19 shot. The morning after taking a second Moderna shot on February 12, she began experiencing tingling in her bilateral toes. She was presented to the emergency department on February 17 because this lack of sensation continued to progress until she had no sensation to her mid thigh, and she began to be unable to feel her perianal region. Her fingertips also started to go numb. She also reported some diplopia. The IVIG she received improved her strength and sensation. She was then discharged to a inpatient rehabilitation facility. 

The other four entries for Moderna into VAERS are for the ages forty-three and above. They are as follows: 

VAERS ID 1207893 entered on April 14, 2021 of a 43-year-old female who had COVID-19 in December 2020 and then received two COVID-19 shots. She then had four weeks of  lower extremity paresthesias and two weeks of lower extremity weakness with diffuse areflexia.

VAERS ID 1632834 entered on August 25, 2021 of a 60-year-old female whose symptoms began with two weeks of sore joints after taking a second Moderna shot.

VAERS ID 1177991 entered on April 7, 2021 of a 65-year-old female. All that is written in the submitted write-up is “Severe Guillain Barre Syndrome.” 

VAERS ID 1161162 entered on April 2, 2021 of an 82-year-old male who at one point was unable to get out of his car or get up from a sitting position without help. The end of his submitted write-up is as follows: Primary Discharge Diagnoses 1. Guillain Barr syndrome., 03/16/2021 Secondary Diagnoses: Guillain Barre Syndrome (AIDP) Hypofibrinogenemia Thrombocytopenia and Anemia, have been fairly stable for more than a week Hypokalemia Hyperlipidemia Hypertension, BPs controlled Mild dementia. 


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