‘Sinovac jab may lead to higher risk of Bell’s palsy’

A team of University of Hong Kong researchers said their latest study has shown that the Sinovac jab could lead to an increased risk of Bell’s palsy – a type of facial paralysis – but concluded that the benefit of the jab still outweigh the risks.

In an online article recently published by The Lancet, the researchers said there was an average of 4.8 cases of Bell’s palsy for every 100,000 people who got the first shot of the mainland-made vaccine, while that figure stands at two for the BioNTech shot.

They arrived at the findings after comparing the 28 and 16 clinically confirmed cases of Bell’s palsy reported respectively among 452,000 and 537,000 people who had received their first dose of the CoronaVac jab made by Sinovac and the BNT162b2 shots manufactured by BioNTech in the past 42 days, against background statistics.

“In conclusion, our study shows an overall increased risk of Bell’s palsy after CoronaVac vaccination but not after BNT162b2 vaccination,” the article read.

But it said the condition is a rare adverse event. The report added that, in general, more than 90 percent of the cases, not specific to Covid vaccines, can be resolved within 9 months following prompt treatment.

“The beneficial and protective effects of the inactivated Covid-19 vaccine far outweigh the risk of this generally self-limiting adverse event,” the report said.