- Many videos of people with neurological disorders, apparently caused by Covid-19 vaccines, are not verified
- Scientists caution that this can cause vaccine hesitancy
- Experts say that health workers need to give transparent and effective information on the possible side effects of the vaccines
Social media is brimming with videos of people who claim to be experiencing major neurologic side effects after getting the coronavirus vaccine. Scientists have cautioned the public that these videos may not be accurate.
In a research letter published in JAMA Neurology, experts warn that these unverified videos may fuel vaccine hesitancy.
Misleading the public
The researchers report that these videos, watched by millions, show people with "movement issues", claiming that these difficulties were caused by the Covid-19 vaccine.
The experts say that these videos may be unsubstantiated, and it is not known if a Covid-19 vaccine was actually administered in these cases.
“It is imperative to note that we are not providing a medical diagnosis for these specific cases because we are not the treating physicians. The only information analysed is from what is publicly available, and we wish to discuss FND and vaccinations in the general sense,” the paper reads.
Analysing the video evidence
The scientists observed that in some instances the videos show functional motor symptoms, such as asynchronous movements that are variable in frequency and amplitude. The experts do note that, according to The Functional Neurological Disorder Society, features in these videos are seemingly consistent with FND.
According to the authors, FND is, in fact, among the most common conditions encountered in the outpatient neurology setting.
They, however, add that the response from authoritative bodies like the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention – without directly addressing these cases – has so far been to reiterate the safety of the vaccines.
Transparency and effective communication needed
“As concern grows, there is a need for healthcare officials to directly educate the public regarding this issue. A lack of direct messaging may be falsely perceived by the public that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is not properly surveilling adverse symptoms or, even worse, concealing them.
" These patients may feel unheard or ignored, and that can raise more distrust with healthcare officials,” the authors write.
The experts say that as healthcare professionals, they should create transparent and non-judgmental spaces for the public to learn about the nature of FND, including that these symptoms are real but not the direct result of toxic vaccine effects.
“Transparency and effective communication are needed in our society more than ever, and a condition as prevalent and potentially debilitating as FND can no longer remain marginalised and in the shadows.
" Effective communication will help educate the public and reduce fears so that patients can make informed decisions for themselves on receiving the vaccine to reduce the risk of Covid-19,” they explain.