Health

Viral video shows woman struggling to walk after her Covid jab in extremely rare case


EXPERTS have sought to reassure people that are hesitant to get the Covid vaccine in fear of a mystery illness.

It comes after a video went viral on Instagram of a 34-year-old British woman struggling to walk days after her second jab, recieving thousands of concerned comments.

This video clip showing Georgia-Rose Segal, 34, struggling to walk days after her second Covid vaccine has gone viral. Experts say her condition - FND - "happens after any kind of minor illness" and "it is to be expected that some people will have FND after a vaccine"

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This video clip showing Georgia-Rose Segal, 34, struggling to walk days after her second Covid vaccine has gone viral. Experts say her condition – FND – “happens after any kind of minor illness” and “it is to be expected that some people will have FND after a vaccine”Credit: Instaram @georgiaroses

Georgia-Rose Segal, 34, claims she has been diagnosed with functional neurological disorder (FND) following a series of similar videos with millions of videws.

Those affected have warned others not to get the jab after falling sick not long after their own.

But doctors have said the complex condition of FND has a number of causes – and the vaccine itself is not one of them.

FND is a condition which can leave sufferers with a wide range of and combination of symptoms.

It can cause spasms, jerky movements, problems walking, slurred speech, tingling, double vision and seizures. 

The exact cause of FND is unknown, but factors such as chronic pain, fatigue or stress can make patients more susceptible, according to the National Organization for Rare Disorders.

Speaking to The Sun, Jon Stone, a leading professor of neurology at the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh, said: “Around 10,000 people every year get FND.

“It’s always been there, although it has been a hidden condition. 

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“Since FND happens after any kind of minor illness, it is to be expected that some people will have FND after a vaccine. 

“In my view, nobody should feel forced into having a vaccine if they don’t want it. However, there is no way to avoid FND which often occurs quite randomly and can affect almost anyone.

“We often see it after minor physical injury or triggered by a physical illness that in most people would only produce symptoms for days or weeks. 

“I met someone yesterday who developed FND after fainting and having a mild bang to the head. She was previously entirely normal with no psychological history and working full time.”

Trigger not a cause

Dr Jan Coebergh, a consultant neurologist at St George’s University Hospitals, London, said vaccines can “trigger” FND, but that is not the same as “cause”.

He told the Sun: “It follows the vaccine, but is not “caused” in a sense. Sometimes we use the word trigger or precipitate.”

Dr Coebergh explained the pandemic could increase the risk of FND development.

Stress and uncertainty about the vaccines, as well as the physical side effects of the jab – such as flu-like symptoms and pain at the injection – may push FND to evolve.

“When you start paying attention to that body part when you believe something is wrong, FND can happen”, Dr Coebergh said. 

This phenomenon has been seen after other vaccines such as the HPV jab.

Strangely, HPV vaccine campaigns have previously caused clustered outbreaks of neurological symptoms like a domino-effect in countries including in Taiwan and South Korea. 

It makes explaining the illness to the public difficult, experts admit. 

Dr Coebergh said: “Any accident, injury, operation, can trigger FND in a vulnerable person. 

“So it’s not the vaccine that causes an immune response, it’s how the brain responds to a physical event.

“The person is not to blame – it’s just the way their brain and body reacted.”

Dr Coebergh added: “My message would be that because it’s not caused by vaccine ingredients, people should have it. 

“The fact some people get FND should not stop anyone from getting the vaccine. If people do get FND they need diagnosis and treatment to a neurologist.”

Prof Stone said: “It is generally true that people who worry about side effects are more likely to get them. This is called the nocebo effect, the opposite of the placebo effect. 

“But it’s likely that many people getting FND after a vaccine weren’t especially worried about the side effects before they had the jab – so personally I wouldn’t use that as the main reasoning about why this happened.”

Another team of experts, led by Dr David Perez, Departments of Neurology and Psychiatry, Massachusetts General Hospital, wrote in Jama Neurology that FND can be “triggered by vaccinations”.

Any accident, injury, operation, can trigger FND in a vulnerable person… When you start paying attention to that body part when you believe something is wrong, FND can happen.

Dr Jan Coebergha consultant neurologist at St George’s University Hospitals, London

But they said it’s not “directly caused by the substances in the vaccine” but factors such as “heightened bodily attention” that lead to FND.

“These symptoms are real but not the direct result of toxic vaccine effects,” the paper said.

“They can theoretically happen with a trigger such as injecting saline [a dummy vaccine], and these events do not mean the current vaccines are unsafe.”

Dr June Raine, Chief Executive of the UK’s drug medicine regulator, the MHRA, said that FND is a “very rare condition” – which Prof Stone and Dr Coebergh disagreed with because 10,000 people are diagnsoed each year.

She said: “When vaccinating a large proportion of the population, it is expected that a certain number of events will occur coincidentally post vaccination.

“There is currently no indication that there is an increased risk of FND after vaccination with the Covid-19 vaccines.”

Dr Raine said although “no effective medicine or vaccine is without risk”, the jabs are “safe and effective” and 82 million doses have been given in the UK.

Viral videos and case studies

Dozens of posts on social media have warned against the vaccines, based on the assumption they cause neurological symptoms. 

Often the sufferer does not mention they have been diagnosed with FND, although that looks the likely cause. 

The British woman’s videos show her staggering through the kitchen and hospital after losing the use of her legs, and her feet spasming while in a hospital bed.

Georgia-Rose said that in the days after her second Covid jab on June 29, her boyfriend had “literally been picking me up off the floor from daily episodes of fainting”.

The British woman's videos show her staggering through the kitchen and hospital after losing the use of her legs, and her feet spasming while in a hospital bed

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The British woman’s videos show her staggering through the kitchen and hospital after losing the use of her legs, and her feet spasming while in a hospital bedCredit: Instaram @georgiaroses

On an Instagram post on July 15 she wrote: “Since Saturday, he has literally been holding me up as I have gradually lost the use of my legs.”

The video was then published on the Instagram account Imjustbait, recieving 100K likes and 9,000 comments as of July 26.

Georgia has since been told by her neurologist she has FND.

Since FND happens after any kind of minor illness, it is to be expected that some people will have FND after a vaccine.

Prof Jon Stoneprofessor of neurology at the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh

Dr Coebergh said the videos of her tremors and difficulty walking “resemble FND”.

He said: “When you look at these videos, they are what we see in FND, but FND should be diagnosed on positive grounds by an experienced doctor; like change with attention and difference between voluntary and automatic movement.”

Dr Coebergh, who said he has seen three or four cases of FND in people “following” their vaccine, outlined the experiences of two case studies in the a paper published in the Journal of Neuropsychiartry and Clinical Neurosciences.

Treatment for FND and other similar neurological conditions is usually complex and involves “retraining the brain”, with therapies such as physical rehab and psychotherapy. 

Two woman diganosed with FND following a Covid jab

The first, a 38-year-old woman, had started feeling “weakness” around her left ear 20 minutes after having her vaccine.

Over the day, it spread to her mouth, left arm – where she had the jab – and left leg.

The next morning, she had difficulty moving the left side of her face and because her leg was heavy, she was rushed to hospital to check for a stroke.

All her tests came back as normal.

Her symptoms peaked two days after the jab, but over the following two months, she developed stammering and short term memory problems. 

The weakness in her body, which led to the FND diagnosis, “gradually improved”. 

Meanwhile, a 36-year-old woman started experiencing weakness in her right hand and limping in her right leg a few minutes after her second jab which lasted for around two hours.

A few days later she sought medical help, suffering fatigue after walking short distances.

Neurologists noted she had weakness in her limbs, unable to lift some while sitting or lying down.

The woman received physical therapy for seven weeks, during which time her weakness fluctuated and she reported finding it difficult to carry out daily tasks.

In the end she was diagnosed with “functional weakness, tremor likely due to anxiety, and fatigue symptoms similar to those of chronic fatigue syndrome”. 

Source: Journal of Neuropsychiartry and Clinical Neurosciences.

Should you still get the vaccine?

Millions of people have been given one or two doses of a jab over the past seven months without any problems.

During the vaccine rollout, some people would have developed a health problem.

It may be that health problems occurring close to vaccination are just a coincidence.

The Functional Neurological Disorder Society, based in the US, issued a statement in January after the posting of several warnings across the world.

Its statement said: “We know that FND is often triggered by a combination of abnormal physical and psychological experiences. 

“We would expect FND to develop in some individuals after vaccination due to a combination of heightened stress owing to the pandemic, feelings of uncertainty about the vaccine and the normal transient physical symptoms, and discomfort after vaccination.”

“Previous vaccination campaigns have caused FND reactions which typically occur in younger recipients.”

Drs Coebergh and colleagues wrote in a British Medical Journal paper that FND may become a cause of vaccine hesitancy.

But they said FND reactions “should not hamper ongoing vaccination campaigns”.

The paper said: “Videos of people displaying neurological symptoms after a SARS-CoV-2 vaccination have been viewed millions of times on social media, leading to concerns that potential recipients may refuse vaccination due to public perception of possible side effects.

“As neurologists and neuropsychiatrists, we are keen that the public and health professionals are educated on the possibility of FND response to vaccinations.”

The MHRA said: “Our advice remains that the benefits of the vaccine outweigh the risks in the majority of people. It is vitally important that people come forward for their vaccination and for their second dose when invited to do so. 

“We ask anyone who suspects they have experienced a side effect linked with their COVID-19 vaccine to report it to the Coronavirus Yellow Card website.” 

People can also learn about FND on these websites: fndsociety.org, fndhope.org, neurosymptoms.org and fndaction.org.uk.

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