AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine linked to rare condition affecting spinal cord

Alan Condon -   Print  |

Eleven patients who received AstraZeneca's COVID-19 vaccine in England and India have developed a rare neurological disorder that affects the brain and spinal cord, the Business Standard reports.

Guillain-Barre syndrome is a disorder in which the body's immune system attacks the nerves, which can lead to paralysis, and in severe cases, death, according to Rochester, Minn.-based Mayo Clinic.

Seven cases were reported from a hospital in Kerala, India, where about 1.2 million people received the AstraZeneca vaccine, and four cases were reported in Nottingham, England, which administered about 700,000 AstraZeneca vaccines, according to the report.

Two studies published in Annals of Neurology on June 10 reported a variant of Guillain-Barre syndrome in which weakness on both sides of the face is observed.

The frequency of the disorder from the areas where the cases were reported was estimated to be up to 10 times greater than expected, according to study authors.

The cases in England and India were reported within two to three weeks of patients' first vaccination doses.

Researchers said the benefits of vaccination significantly outweigh the risk of this rare outcome — 5.8 per 1 million — but clinicians should be aware of the potential adverse event, according to the report.

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