June 16, 2024

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Some people had facial paralysis after receiving mRNA COVID-19 vaccine

BMJ Sub-Journal: Some people had the side effects of facial paralysis after receiving mRNA COVID-19 vaccine



Some people had facial paralysis after receiving mRNA COVID-19 vaccine. Since the clinical trials of the mRNA COVID-19 vaccine, there have been many different types of side effects, but most of the side effects are not serious and will subside quickly. Compared with the strong protection brought by the vaccine, these side effects are acceptable.

In the previous phase 3 clinical trial, volunteers who received Pfizer/BioNTech’s mRNA vaccine reported 4 cases of unexplained facial paralysis (Bell’s palsy), while volunteers who received placebo did not. Volunteers who received Moderna’s mRNA vaccine reported 3 cases, compared with 1 case in the placebo group. Three cases were also reported among volunteers who received the Oxford/AstraZeneca adenovirus vaccine, as were three cases in the placebo group.

Bell’s palsy is an acute unilateral nerve palsy of unknown etiology, so it is also called idiopathic facial nerve palsy. It is the most common cause of clinical facial paralysis.

Recently, researchers from the Royal Surrey County Hospital in the UK published a case report titled: Sequential contralateral facial nerve palsies following COVID-19 vaccination first and second doses in the journal BMJ Case Reports.

A 61-year-old man developed unilateral nerve palsy 5 hours after the first dose of Pfizer/BioNTech’s mRNA vaccine, and then developed unilateral nerve palsy again 2 days after the second dose.

The research team said that the patient developed Bell’s palsy soon after both vaccinations. Although the cause and effect cannot be determined, it strongly suggests that the patient’s Bell’s palsy is related to Pfizer/BioNTech’s mRNA vaccination.

Some people had facial paralysis after receiving mRNA COVID-19 vaccine


The patient went to the emergency room after the first attack. The left eye could not be closed normally and the left forehead could not be moved. He was diagnosed with Bell’s Palsy. Routine blood tests and head CT scans showed no problems. After he was discharged from the hospital, he received a course of steroid treatment, and the facial nerve palsy disappeared completely.

The patient received the second dose of mRNA vaccine six weeks after the first dose of mRNA vaccine, and two days later developed more severe left facial nerve palsy. Symptoms included inability to turn the left eye, difficulty swallowing, and inability to completely close the left eye. He received steroid treatment again. At present, the patient’s symptoms have been greatly improved and almost returned to normal.

The research team believes that Bell’s palsy after vaccination may be due to the reactivation of dormant viruses in the central nervous system after vaccination, resulting in facial nerve inflammation or edema. In 2004, the inactivated intranasal inhaled influenza vaccine proved to significantly increase the risk of Bell’s palsy and was therefore discontinued. The incidence of Bell’s palsy has also increased after other influenza vaccines or meningitis vaccines, but the causality has not been determined.

Although most Bell’s palsy will recover on its own over time, these symptoms may also cause significant temporary disability, affecting facial expressions and eating ability.

At last. The author of the paper reminded that in view of the rapid introduction and widespread vaccination of the COVID-19 vaccine, clinicians must remain vigilant and report adverse reactions in a timely manner.


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