(NEXSTAR) – Vaccinations are underway in the United States, but after seven people who received the injection – four in the Pfizer-BioNTech trial and three in the Moderna trial – developed Bell’s palsy, facial muscle weakness or paralysis, misinformation is now spreading. online.
Although Bell’s palsy looks alarming, the symptoms make half of the face appear as if it is falling, according to the Mayo Clinic – it is more common than people think and usually goes away within a few weeks or months.
The FDA said it was following cases of Bell’s palsy after four people taking the Pfizer vaccine developed the disease, but there is currently no reason to believe the vaccine caused the disease.
With the three people who developed Bell’s palsy after taking the Moderna vaccine, a fourth, who took the placebo also experienced the condition. Over 30,000 people attended.
The four patients in the Pfizer trials develop Bell’s palsy at different times after the injection – the first 3 days later, the second 9 days later, the third 37 days later, and the fourth 48 days later. At least one had already recovered from last week.
Although none of the Pfizer placebo participants had the condition, officials say there is still no cause for concern at this point, as the number of people who have suffered from Bell’s palsy matches. the number of people who are expected to suffer from it in the larger population. .
“The observed frequency of Bell’s palsy reported in the vaccinated group is consistent with the expected background rate in the general population,” a backgrounder from the FDA States.
In fact, it is well below the number of people likely to contract Bell’s palsy in the United States each year – 25 to 35 patients per 100,000, according to the National Organization for Rare Diseases.
While the cases are likely unrelated to the vaccine, rumors on social media have raised doubts and suspicions about the vaccine, which the government approved for use last Friday.
A Reuters fact check found that a widely shared image showing three people with Bell’s palsy claiming they had received the vaccine was wrong – it existed since 2019.
Another article states that “6 people have died so far from the covid vaccine, plus 4 others have developed Bell’s palsy, facial palsy … but hey, this vaccine is ‘safe’.”
While six of the 44,000 people participating in the trial died, four were given placebos. Of the other two, Reuters found, one died of cardiac arrest 62 days after vaccination and the other of arteriosclerosis three days after being vaccinated.
On Wednesday, Twitter announced that it would start removing misinformation about COVID-19 vaccinations from its platform.
The policy will be start next week, and crack down on tweets suggesting the virus is a hoax, vaccination is used to harm or control people and other baseless claims.