Pfizer coronavirus vaccine approved for 12 to 15 year olds
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The Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine has been linked to Bell’s palsy after a 61-year-old British man suffered facial paralysis after receiving each dose of the vaccine. The patient, who had no previous history of facial nerve palsy, experienced facial paralysis on the right side of his face five hours after receiving his first dose of the Pfizer jab. Two days after receiving his second vaccine, the patient suffered a more severe episode of Bell’s palsy on the left side of his face. Blood tests and a CT scan taken during the patient’s first episode showed no alarming signs.
When the patient received the second dose of the Pfizer vaccine six weeks later, he developed a more severe facial nerve palsy.
Symptoms included dribbling, difficulty swallowing and an inability to fully close his left eye.
The patient attended an emergency department where he was prescribed a course of steroids before being referred to the Emergency Ear and Nose Clinic.
Writing in the journal BMJ Case Reports, doctors said: “The occurrence of the episodes immediately after each vaccine dose strongly suggests that the Bell’s palsy was attributed to the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, although a causal relationship cannot be established”.
Bell’s palsy is believed to be related to facial nerve inflammation and swelling due to build up or build caused by a virus, which causes weakness or paralysis on one side of the face.
Health professionals caring for the patient reported that his symptoms have greatly improved.
They said: “The patient has been advised to discuss future mRNA vaccines with the GP on a case-by-case basis, taking into account risk versus benefit of having each vaccine.”
Two separate studies published in JAMA Otolaryngology-Head and Neck surgery suggested that the Pfizer vaccines has not been linked with a higher risk for Bell’s palsy, but COVID-19 itself does increased the risk.
One study involved 110 people in Israel who received the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, including 37 in whom the characteristics developed on average nine days after the first dose or 14 days after the second dose.
After accounting for underlying risk factors for Bell’s palsy, the researchers concluded the vaccine itself did not increase the risk.
Dr Akina Tamaki, of University Hospitals Cleveland Medical Centre, who coauthored the second study, said: “Our data suggest that rates of facial nerve palsy are higher in patients who are positive for COVID-19.
“Taken together, it supports that the vaccine is safe from a facial nerve paralysis standpoint.”
The findings come as every adults in the UK has been offered a first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, hitting the Prime Minister’s target ahead of schedule.
More than 82,413,766 doses have been administered in the UK with 87.9 percent receiving a first dose and 68.5 percent receiving both vaccines.
More than 46 million people have received a first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine in the UK, with nearly 10 million jabs administered. in London alone, according to Sadiq Khan.
The mayor said the vaccine roll-out meant the sharp increase in the number of cases in the capital was not leading to similar increase in hospitalisations and deaths.
“Those above the age of 40, more than three quarters of the have had a double dose of the vaccine.
“We’re focussing now on younger people, those between 18-30, now a million of them have had the jab.”
Data from Public Health England (PHE) show COVID-19 vaccines are highly effective against hospitalisation from the Delta variant.
The analysis shows the Pfizer-BioNTech is 96 percent effect and the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine is 92 percent effective against hospitalisations after two doses.
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