13 people had symptoms of paralysis of the facial nerve as a side effect after having the first dose of COVID-19 vaccine in Israel, Ynet reported on Friday.
Nonetheless, the Israeli Ministry of Health recommended giving them the second dose as well, which made figures in the science and health world divided over the Ministry’s statements.
“Those who have been vaccinated and have suffered from paralysis can receive the second dose. In general, those who suffer from a new disease should delay receiving the vaccine after recovery,” the ministry affirmed. “The intention is that according to this rule, receiving a second dose should be delayed until the paralysis passes.”
The ministry reported that at least 13 people have developed facial paralysis since the beginning of the week; however, doctors in the health system estimate that, practically, the number of cases is higher.
“For at least 28 hours I walked around with it,” one person with the side effect said. “I can’t say it was completely gone afterwards, but other than that I had no other pains, except a minor pain where the injection was but there was nothing beyond that.”
He noted that he hasn’t decided yet whether he should receive the second dose or not.
“It is important to note that this is something rare, and I don’t want people to avoid getting vaccinated. It’s important,” he stressed.
“I recently came across, for example, someone vaccinated who was dealing with paralysis, and decided not to give her a second dose,” Prof. Galia Rahav, director of the Infectious Diseases Unit at Sheba Medical Center stated. “It is true that it can be given according to the Health Ministry, but I did not feel comfortable with it.”
“No one knows if this is connected to the vaccine or not. That’s why I would refrain from giving a second dose to someone who suffered from paralysis after the first dose,” Rahav added.
10 people were pronounced dead in Germany after receiving Pfizer and BioNTech COVID-19 vaccines, according to the German News Agency (DPA).