Guillain-Barre is a very rare autoimmune condition that causes the body's immune system to attack the nerves, Some of the signs and symptoms of this syndrome include weakness in the legs, an inability to walk and even paralysis. There is no cure for the condition, but there are treatments that can be taken to ease and reduce its symptoms. Many who are diagnosed can also recover and regain their ability to walk after several months of therapy and treatment.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has acknowledged that on certain occasions, "people have developed Guillain-Barre syndrome in the days or weeks after receiving certain vaccines." The National Institutes of Health has also reported one case of Guillain-Barre in an 82-year-old woman who was diagnosed after receiving the first dose of the coronavirus vaccine.
The CDC has refused to confirm whether pre-existing autoimmune conditions such as Guillain-Barre can worsen after people receive the coronavirus vaccine. (Related: Scottish woman develops severe and painful rashes all over her body immediately after getting AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine.)
McGlaun, a high school senior in his last semester, has described himself as being in perfect health. He was eligible to get the vaccine early because of his part-time job, so he got his first shot in early March.
"I wanted to get the vaccine," said McGlaun during an interview with Houston NBC affiliate KPRC. "I felt it was the right thing to do. I wanted to travel and enjoy my last summer before college."
But several weeks after he received the first dose, McGlaun suddenly felt extremely weak and had difficulty walking. "I had to pick him up," said McGlaun's mother during the interview. "My six-foot-three, completely healthy boy."
He was immediately admitted to CHI St. Luke's Health, where the doctors diagnosed him with Guillain-Barre syndrome after doing some tests.
"I just knew, you know," said McGlaun, who is certain that the coronavirus vaccine caused his rare condition. "Something didn't feel right. I wasn't getting any better."
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Dr. Charles Sims, an infectious disease specialist from St. Luke's and a member of the Montgomery County Health Authority, does not believe the coronavirus vaccine caused McGlaun's Guillain-Barre.
Sims believes it is much more likely that a viral or bacterial infection is the culprit behind his infection. To Sims, it was merely a coincidence that symptoms started appearing several weeks after McGlaun got his first dose.
"There have been cases of Guillain-Barre seen in people who have received the vaccine, but they're not at any higher rate than people who have not received the vaccine," claimed Sims. "Guillain-Barre is seen in about one to two people per million per year."
McGlaun's parents said they want their son's story to be shared not to deter anybody from getting the vaccine, but to make more people aware of its potential adverse effects and to help people recognize Guillain-Barre quickly if it happens to them.
"Do your research," said McGlaun's father. "Not that vaccines are a bad idea or a bad thing or anything, but it's a personal choice."
"'Listen to your body is the biggest thing that I've learned," said McGlaun of his ordeal.
McGlaun's family said they plan to report the incident to the CDC, who will investigate the incident.
Learn more about how the coronavirus vaccines may be causing serious and very rare health conditions like Guillain-Barre syndrome to occur by reading the latest articles at Vaccines.news.