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By the end of January 2021, more than 97.3 million doses globally and 31.8 million doses in the United States have been administered of the COVID-19 vaccine.1 Although important postmarketing surveillance is ongoing, it is currently highly effective and safe, with adverse effects including transient symptoms such as fever/chills, headache, fatigue, myalgia/arthralgia, lymphadenopathy, nausea, or local effects of swelling, erythema, or pain.2 With the public being vaccinated, there have recently been videos circulating on social media about major neurologic adverse events after administration of the COVID-19 vaccine.3 A few of these videos have been viewed millions of times by the public.3 Some depict individuals with continuous movements of the trunk and limbs or walking difficulties. The spread of these videos has fueled vaccine hesitancy concerns and without effective communication by medical professionals to the public, this can lead to reduced vaccination rates and an unnecessary prolongation of the pandemic. It must be noted that these videos may be unsubstantiated, and it is not definitively known if the COVID-19 vaccine was administered in these cases. However, it was reported in the news that at least 1 patient was told by their physician that the diagnosis was conversion disorder,4 also known as functional neurological disorder (FND). Here, we provide context regarding potential associations between FND and COVID-19 vaccinations, as effective communication regarding this intersection is critically important.
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CME Disclosure Statement: Unless noted, all individuals in control of content reported no relevant financial relationships. If applicable, all relevant financial relationships have been mitigated.
Corresponding Author: David L. Perez, MD, MMSc, Departments of Neurology and Psychiatry, Massachusetts General Hospital, 55 Fruit St, Boston, MA 02114 (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Published Online: April 9, 2021. doi:10.1001/jamaneurol.2021.1042
Conflict of Interest Disclosures: Dr Perez reports grants from the National Institute of Mental Health and Sidney R. Baer, Jr. Foundation and personal fees from Harvard Medical School outside the submitted work. No other disclosures were reported.
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