Vaccination and Induction of Autoimmune Diseases

Inflamm Allergy Drug Targets. 2015;14(2):94-8. doi: 10.2174/1871528114666160105113046.


Vaccines have been suspected of playing a role in inducing autoimmune disease (AID) for a long time. However, apart from certain specific vaccine strains and complications (such as the swine flu vaccine and Guillain-Barré syndrome in 1976, thrombocytopenia and the Measles-Mumps-Rubella vaccine), this role has not been established. In spite of this, many isolated cases or series of cases of arthritis, vasculitis, and central or peripheral nervous system symptoms following vaccination have been reported. These cases tend to be very infrequent and usually only the shortterm outcomes are described. This paper will examine the arguments for and against the relationship between vaccines and AID, bearing in mind that no association between the two has been clearly identified up to now. The role of adjuvants in vaccines has been described by other teams and in a more general syndrome (Autoimmune/Autoinflammatory Syndrome Induced by Adjuvants). Thus, cases of AID triggered by vaccines are highly rare and raise questions about the interaction between vaccines and/or their adjuvants and the genetic context of autoimmune disease. These observations should therefore not undermine the benefits of vaccination.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adjuvants, Immunologic / adverse effects*
  • Animals
  • Autoimmune Diseases / chemically induced*
  • Autoimmune Diseases / epidemiology
  • Autoimmune Diseases / immunology
  • Autoimmune Diseases / physiopathology
  • Autoimmunity / drug effects*
  • Humans
  • Risk Assessment
  • Risk Factors
  • Vaccination / adverse effects*
  • Vaccines / adverse effects*


  • Adjuvants, Immunologic
  • Vaccines