No increased risk of Guillain-Barré syndrome after human papilloma virus vaccine: A self-controlled case-series study in England

Vaccine. 2017 Mar 23;35(13):1729-1732. doi: 10.1016/j.vaccine.2017.01.076. Epub 2017 Feb 27.


Objective: To investigate the risk of Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS) after human papilloma virus (HPV) vaccine given to 12-18year old girls in England.

Methods: Hospital Episode Statistics (HES) were searched using data to March 2016 to identify incident cases of GBS in female patients aged from 11 to 20years eligible to have received the HPV vaccine since its introduction as a 3 dose schedule in September 2008. Diagnosis was confirmed by the case's general practitioner (GP) who also provided HPV vaccination dates. The risk of admission within 3months (primary risk window) 6 and 12months of any dose was assessed using the self-controlled case-series (SCCS) method in vaccinated girls with age, season and time-period adjustment. The risk before and after the change in 2012 from bivalent vaccine to quadrivalent vaccine was also assessed.

Results: A total 244 episodes were initially identified which reduced to 101 episodes in 100 girls when just including cases where the GP could be contacted, at least one vaccine dose was given, and GBS was confirmed or classed as probable. Nine, 14 and 24GBS admissions occurred within 3, 6, 12months of a dose respectively. The relative incidence (RI) for the 3month risk period was 1.04 (95% confidence interval 0.47-2.28), for the 6month period 0.83 (0.41-1.69) and for the 12month period 1.10 (0.57-2.14). When restricting to 79 confirmed cases the RI in the 3month risk period was 1.26 (0.55-2.92) and the RI 1.61 (0.39-6.54) for quadrivalent vaccine compared to 0.84 (0.30-2.34) for bivalent.

Conclusion: We found no evidence of an increased risk of GBS following HPV vaccination in England and, based on the upper end of the 95% CI for the RI and the number of HPV vaccine doses given in England, can exclude a risk of about 1 per million doses.

Keywords: Guillain-Barré syndrome; Human papilloma virus vaccine; Self-controlled case-series; Vaccine safety.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • England / epidemiology
  • Female
  • Guillain-Barre Syndrome / epidemiology*
  • Humans
  • Papillomavirus Vaccines / administration & dosage
  • Papillomavirus Vaccines / adverse effects*
  • Risk Assessment
  • Young Adult


  • Papillomavirus Vaccines