COVID-19: Sinovac vaccine increases risk of facial paralysis – researchers

COVID-19 vaccine:

Hong Kong researchers says the CoronaVac COVID-19 vaccine, developed by Chinese company Sinovac, increases the risk of temporary paralysis of the facial nerve.

According to a study by the researchers published in the Lancet on Tuesday, there is a higher risk of developing temporary facial nerve palsy, or Bell’s palsy, in people vaccinated with CoronaVac.

The report said this was equivalent to an additional 4.8 cases per 100,000 people, while the number for those vaccinated with the BNT162b2 was an additional two cases per 100,000 people.

Scientists from the University of Hong Kong compared health reports collected from patients, who got the first shot of the CoronaVac or the BNT162b2 (Fosun–BioNTech, equivalent to Pfizer–BioNTech) vaccine within 42 days following injection with the baseline for the general population.

“Our findings suggest an overall increased risk of Bell’s palsy after CoronaVac vaccination,” the study concluded.

However, the researchers noted that the benefits of the vaccine “far outweigh the risk of this generally self-limiting adverse event.

“ In 90 per cent of cases, Bell’s palsy can be cured within nine months, the study said.’’

The analysis covered the health data of 451,939 individuals who had received CoronaVac and 537,205 individuals who had received the other vaccine between Feb. 23 and May 4, 2021.

Bell’s palsy causes sudden weakness or paralysis of the muscles on one side of the face, which leads to a temporary loss of control of the facial muscles on the affected side. (dpa/NAN)