A new Viewpoint published in JAMA Neurology discusses potential associations between functional neurological disorder and COVID-19 vaccinations.
As Kim, et al. (2021) state, "By the end of January 2021, more than 97.3 million doses globally and 31.8 million doses in the United States have been administered of the COVID-19 vaccine. Although important post-marketing surveillance is ongoing, it is currently highly effective and safe, with adverse effects including transient symptoms such as fever/chills, headache, fatigue, myalgia/arthralgia, lymphadenopathy, nausea, or local effects of swelling, erythema, or pain. With the public being vaccinated, there have recently been videos circulating on social media about major neurologic adverse events after administration of the COVID-19 vaccine. A few of these videos have been viewed millions of times by the public. Some depict individuals with continuous movements of the trunk and limbs or walking difficulties. The spread of these videos has fueled vaccine hesitancy concerns and without effective communication by medical professionals to the public, this can lead to reduced vaccination rates and an unnecessary prolongation of the pandemic. It must be noted that these videos may be unsubstantiated, and it is not definitively known if the COVID-19 vaccine was administered in these cases. However, it was reported in the news that at least 1 patient was told by their physician that the diagnosis was conversion disorder, also known as functional neurological disorder (FND)."
Kim, et al. (2021) provide context regarding potential associations between FND and COVID-19 vaccinations, as effective communication regarding this intersection is critically important.
Reference: Kim DD, et al. Helping the Public Understand Adverse Events Associated With COVID-19 Vaccinations. JAMA Neurol. Published online April 9, 2021. doi:10.1001/jamaneurol.2021.1042