Quadrivalent Meningococcal Vaccine Linked to Bell’s Palsy Risk

HealthDay News—Bell’s palsy is the only prespecified adverse event associated with the MenACWY-CRM quadrivalent meningococcal conjugate vaccine, according to a study published in Pediatrics.

Hung-Fu Tseng, PhD, from the Southern California Permanente Medical Group in Pasadena, and colleagues evaluated data from 48,899 individuals, aged 11 to 21 years, receiving MenACWY-CRM, a quadrivalent meningococcal conjugate vaccine, between Sept. 30, 2011, and June 30, 2013. Electronic health records were used to identify 26 prespecified events of interest (EOIs) for up to 1 year after vaccination.

The researchers found that no cases were observed in the risk window for 14 of 26 EOIs. The relative incidence (RI) for Bell’s palsy was statistically significant at 2.9 (95% confidence interval [CI], 1.1-7.5). An increased risk for Bell’s palsy in subjects receiving concomitant vaccines (RI, 5.0; 95% CI, 1.4-17.8) was seen in stratified analyses, but no increased risk was seen for those without concomitant vaccine (RI, 1.1; 95% CI, 0.2-5.5).

“The association needs further investigation as it could be due to chance, concomitant vaccination, or underlying medical history predisposing to Bell’s palsy,” the authors write.

Several authors disclosed financial ties to Novartis Vaccines and Diagnostics (now part of GlaxoSmithKline Vaccines), which funded the study.

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Tseng H-F, Sy LS, Ackerson BK, et al. Safety of quadrivalent meningococcal conjugate vaccine in 11- to 21-year-olds [published online January 02, 2017]. Pediatrics. doi: 10.1542/peds.2016-2084