Don't draw conclusions over Manitobans showing Bell's palsy symptoms after COVID-19 vaccination: Province
WINNIPEG -- CTV News Winnipeg has learned that five people in Manitoba have shown symptoms of Bell’s palsy since getting their COVID-19 vaccines, however, health professionals are saying that people need to be cautious before drawing any conclusions.
Bell’s palsy is a condition that causes muscular weakness or paralysis in the face. Generally, the condition is temporary.
According to Dr. Joss Reimer, medical lead of Manitoba’s Vaccine Implementation Task Force, this is something that medical professionals look out for with all vaccines.
At a news conference on Wednesday, she said Bell’s palsy is something that is potentially linked to vaccines, though the results of the pathophysiology or the physical path that causes this outcome has never been clearly outlined.
“We’ve seen that there have been a few cases after a COVID vaccine, but the number of cases after a COVID vaccine has still been lower than what we see in the general population,” Reimer said.
“Bell’s palsy can also occur after an infection, so a COVID infection would be a great example, really any viral infection seems to be a risk factor to trigger Bell’s palsy. Some people get it with no risk factors at all, where we don’t know why they went on to develop Bell’s palsy.”
Reimer said even though there has been cases of the condition after COVID-19 vaccinations, we have to “very cautious” before concluding anything related to the vaccine as Bell’s palsy can develop on its own.
“That’s why we do have folks who watch the adverse events following immunization and compare that to the normal rates of different outcomes in society,” she said.
“We’ve talked with those folks and they’re telling us right now that the number of Bell’s palsy cases after COVID is the same or lower than what we would expect to see if we were talking about the general population.”