Dr Hilary discusses Oxford vaccine side effects on Lorraine
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A new study found that catching Covid poses a greater risk of rare neurological complications, including Bell’s palsy, Guillain-Barre syndrome and haemorrhagic stroke. The risk is “much higher” compared to vaccines, according to the study.
Previously, research showed that people who got an AstraZeneca jab had an increased risk of Bell’s palsy and Guillain-Barre syndrome in 28 days after receiving their first dose.
People who had the Pfizer jab had a higher risk of haemorrhagic stroke.
Researchers found that both vaccines resulted in an increase of certain neurological complications after administration.
However, new research suggests that Covid-19 infection carries a “much higher risk” of developing these conditions.
Co-lead author of the study and medical statistician Martina Patone said: “We found different risks for different types of neurological condition depending on which vaccine people received.
“However, these were substantially lower than the risks occurring in association with a positive Covid-19 PCR test.”
The study assessed the risk of developing neurological complications within 28 days of receiving a first dose of the Oxford or Pfizer vaccine as well as 28 days of a positive PCR test.
Patone added: “We estimate 145 excess cases of Guillain-Barre syndrome per 10 million people in the 28 days after a positive SARS-CoV-2 test, compared to 38 per 10 million for those who received the ChAdOx1nCoV-19 [AstraZeneca] vaccine.”
What exactly are the neurological conditions?
Bell’s palsy is a temporary weakness or lack of movement in one side of your face.
Most people get better up to nine months, according to the NHS.
Guillain-Barre syndrome is a very rare, acyclovir shelf life serious condition that affects the nerves, causing problems like numbness, weakness and pain.
The syndrome can be treated and most people affected eventually make a full recovery, reports the NHS.
Haemorrhagic strokes happen when a blood vessel inside the skull bursts and bleeds inside or around the brain.
Possible treatment includes medicine or surgery.
Another co-lead author doctor Lahiru Handunnetthi said: “These neurological complications were very rare, but awareness of these will be important for patient care during mass vaccination programmes across the world.”
Co-author Julia Hippisley-Cox added: “These very rare conditions are very important to spot to ensure that clinicians know what to look for, aid earlier diagnosis, and inform clinical decision-making and resource management.”
Researchers also did an additional analysis limited to people who tested before vaccination.
But this didn’t change the results, “indicating a greater risk” of these complications following infection before vaccination.
Hippisley-Cox said: “We know the Covid-19 vaccines are very effective at reducing risks of severe outcomes from Covid-19 infection.
“Whilst there are some increased risks of very rare neurological complications associated with the AstraZeneca vaccine, these are much smaller than the risks associated with Covid infection itself.”
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