Scientists warn against videos alleged to be showing adverse Covid-19 vaccine side effects

play article
Subscribers can listen to this article
  • 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.

*For more Covid-19 research, science and news, click here. You can also sign up for our Daily Dose newsletter here.

READ| J&J Covid-19 vaccine: Are blood clots and the pausing of SA’s rollout a cause for major concern?

READ|6 unhealthy eating behaviours on the rise during the Covid-19 pandemic

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For only R75 per month, you have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today.
Subscribe to News24
Voting Booth
Have you entered our Health of the Nation survey?
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
32% - 9474 votes
68% - 20306 votes