Later on, USA studies proved that there was indeed a relationship between both. Observations during and after the A/New Jersey mass vaccination campaign in 1976 lead to convincing statistics (see GBS). German authors calculated the frequency of neurological complications at 1/0.7 million doses for influenza B vaccines and at 1/1.3 million vaccinations for influenza A vaccines (4). It is clear that for these figures, only documented cases have been taken into account, whereas as a rule not all cases have been properly diagnosed and reported. The real figures, thus, are likely to be higher.
The first syndrome to be clearly correlated with the influenza-vaccination was the Guillain-Barre paralysis (1977). But only one year later, researchers discovered that neurological complications were not at all restricted to this one syndrome; on the contrary, they found a good number of neurological affections (8). Hennessen et.al. call the spectrum of syndromes "remarquably wide" and notice that in the course of a postvaccination disease process it is not rare for them to mingle into many different mixtures.
Although the first syndromes were detected after the A/New Jersey mass vaccination, complications after influenza vaccination can in no way be attributed or limited to this one vaccine. All 28 cases described by Hennessen et. al. e.g. were vaccinated with vaccines that did not contain this A/New Jersey strain.
More epidemiological data were gathered by Hennessen et al. The incidence of affections was significantly higher in autumn (September-November), four times more common in males than in females, in all age groups (16-73 years old) with an average age of 38,9 years. The interval between vaccination and first symptoms varied between 24 hours and 4 weeks, with an average of 11.3 days (8).
1) Guillain-Barre Syndrome (GBS)
The relationship between influenza-vaccination and GBS was proven after the 1976 A/New Jersey mass vaccination in the USA. In eleven states, comparable samples of vaccinated and non-vaccinated proved that in those vaccinated GBS occured in 1,55/million, compared to 0,17 in non-vaccinated (9,11 times more frequent in those vaccinated). (Hennessen quotes different figures: 8,0/million in vaccinated compared to 1,8/million in non-vaccinated 8). 31% of cases were over 60 years old. Only 12% occured within 7 days after vaccination, 74% between 8 and 28 days, and 14% even after one month 9. Most cases were diagnosed between 2 and 4 weeks after vaccination. Single cases occured up to 9 weeks after vaccination. Ehrengut & Allerdist mention that, within 3 weeks after vaccination, the frequency already is up to 3,12 cases per million vaccinees 4, which would raise the risk factor for vaccinees to 18,35.
Ehrengut and Allerdist describe a case which progressed from paralysis of the extremities to affection of the intercostal muscles and facial paralysis (4).
This complication may occur in normal, healthy individuals without any preliminary disease.
More cases were described during an IABS Symposium in Geneva, 1977 (10).
2) Facialis paralysis
This symptom generally occurs as part of a Guillain-Barre Syndrome (4, 8).
3) Paralysis of the extremities
Paralysis of both upper limbs occured in a 40 year old man, with severe pain, atrophy of deltoideus muskles and hypoesthesia of the right arm after inoculation in the left upper arm (4).