Musculoskeletal symptoms may occur following various types of immunization, and it has also been suggested that, like infection, immunization may act as a trigger for rheumatoid arthritis (RA). A total of 48 of 898 (5.3%) patients with early inflammatory polyarthritis (IP) referred to the Norfolk Arthritis Register reported an immunization in the 6 weeks prior to symptom onset. There were no important clinical or demographic differences between the 48 immunized patients and 185 consecutive patients who did not report prior immunization. In addition, the frequencies of HLA-DRB1*01. *04 and the shared epitope in 33 of the immunized patients were similar to those in the 185 non-immunized patients and to those in 136 healthy controls. Further results from a case-control study suggest that the rate of immunization is higher amongst cases (5.5%) than age- and sex-matched controls (2.8%). In a small number of susceptible individuals, immunization may thus act as a trigger for RA.