There is an anti-COVID vaccine video making the rounds on SM. It stars a black lady called Khalilah Mitchell who claims she works as a registered nurse in Nashvillee, TN. According to her heart wrenching account, she got a shot of a COVID vaccine and developed Bell’s Palsy or one-sided facial paralysis 3 days later. She goes on to blame the vaccine for the paralysis and exhorts all not to take it. Though the video has been banned by the big boys, it is still making the rounds on Whatsapp.
In the video, she does seem to have paralysis of the left side of her face, and she truly tugs at one’s heartstrings with her story.
The only problem is that the Tennessee Department of Health has no nurse on record with the name, Khalilah Mitchell. (I actually searched on the database myself with that name and with “Mitchell, K”. There was no Khalilah Mitchell RN the database. I have the link to the database in the “Comments” so those who wish can search too).
There is also no record of a nurse or person with that name who has received a COVID vaccine in the last 2 weeks.
So where did Ms Mitchell and her records go? Your guess is as good as mine.
While others continue to search for her, let’s answer the more important question:
Do any of the two COVID vaccines cause one-sided facial paralysis aka Bell’s Palsy? No one knows what causes Bell’s Palsy even though some suspect a viral etiology like infection with Herpes simplex, HIV, VZV and EBV. Conditions like stress, auto-immune diseases, diabetes, and high blood pressure may make one more susceptible.
So far, there is nothing to indicate that recipients of the two COVID vaccines are at a higher risk of getting it one-sided facial paralysis.
Bell’s Palsy starts suddenly and progresses rapidly to full severity from a day to about a week. In 85% of the time, it resolves within 3 weeks and 70% of those who get it recover fully. It re-occurs in 12% of the time. Treatment is usually with steroids. Some practitioners attribute viral infections as a cause and may add antivirals.
The incidence in the general population is around 15-30 cases per 100,000 per year. Moderna saw 3 cases in 15,185 vaccine recipients whereas Pfizer found 4 cases out of 18,801 participants. So among vaccine recipients the incidence was about 17.7 per 100,000. That falls within the normal occurrence in the general population.
(See the data in “Comments”)
So, do not let this apparently fake video dissuade you from getting the vaccine. If it also helps, you can read the CDC statement on the COVID vaccines and co-existing diseases. The link is in the “Comments” section.
By Nana Dadzie Ghansah an anesthesiologist who lives and works in Lexington Kentucky