We’re collecting information on hepatitis B vaccination and ME/CFS – can you help? | 13 January 2016

January 13, 2016

Dr Charles Shepherd, medical adviser to the ME Association, has a longstanding interest in the role of vaccinations as possible trigger factors in the development of ME/CFS – in particular, hepatitis B vaccine.

If you have been in touch with the MEA regarding hepatitis B vaccination and ME/CFS in the past, or have new information to pass on, please contact Dr Shepherd via:



Anecdotal evidence indicates that a number of vaccinations are occasionally capable of either triggering ME/CFS, or causing an exacerbation of pre-existing symptoms.

The UK Chief Medical Officer's Working Group report on ME/CFS acknowledged (in section 3.3.2) that vaccinations can occasionally act as a trigger factor in the development of ME/CFS. A copy of the CMO Report can be downloaded HERE.

The link is biologically plausible but there hasn't been any really robust epidemiological research carried out to investigate the role of vaccinations as immune system stressors in the causation of ME/CFS.

Two fairly recent published reports of interest relate to an MHRA review of HPV vaccine (Cervarix) and ME/CFS:


and two case reports re Swine Flu vaccine and ME/CFS:


Dr Shepherd has patient evidence on the subject. This is now quite substantial and includes a number of health workers who were vaccinated, almost as a condition of employment. It indicates that hepatitis B vaccine appears to play an unusual and significant role.

This is supported by the results of the MEA website poll on the role of vaccinations as trigger factors for ME/CFS (see below).

The MEA also has an information leaflet which summaries the research evidence relating to vaccinations and ME/CFS:


Similar information is summarised and referenced on page 41 of the MEA purple booklet.


If your ME/CFS was triggered by a vaccination, which vaccine was involved?

Hepatitis B (57%, 338 Votes)
Flu (9%, 51 Votes)
Other (7%, 41 Votes)
BCG (6%, 33 Votes)
Cannot remember (5%, 31 Votes)
Combination (5%, 27 Votes)
Tetanus (3%, 18 Votes)
Meningitis (3%, 17 Votes)
MMR (2%, 14 Votes)
Polio (2%, 10 Votes)
Hepatitis A (1%, 7 Votes)
Typhoid (0%, 4 Votes)
Total Voters: 591

Start Date: April 30, 2010 @ 3:20 pm
End Date: June 2, 2010 @ 3:20 pm

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