Results from a vaccine post-licensure safety study recently published in the January 2017 issue of the medical journal Pediatrics showed that a meningococcal conjugate vaccine available in the United States may be associated with an increased risk of developing Bell’s palsy.
Bell’s palsy, also called idiopathic facial paralysis, is a temporary neurological condition involving the facial nerve that causes facial droop on the affected side and may also affect taste, tears and saliva production.
Currently there are two meningococcal conjugate vaccines available in the United States, MenACWY-D (marketed as Menactra®) & MenACWY-CRM (marketed as Menveo®). The safety study, which only looked at MenACWY-CRM, showed there was an increased risk of developing Bell’s palsy in study subjects who received MenACWY-CRM in addition to another vaccine, such as one for seasonal influenza, human papilloma virus, or tetanus, diphtheria and acellular pertussis, at the same time the MenACWY-CRM was administered. Of note, there was no increased risk for developing Bell’s palsy in study subjects who received MenACWY-CRM alone.
So how does all this relate to late-80’s pulp fiction you ask? In Tim Burton’s 1989 movie version of Batman one of the film’s sub-plots involved minor characters being poisoned when using various combinations of personal products and others died permanently sporting the Joker’s iconic grimace. Rest assured, that while some of the study participants who developed Bell’s palsy had asymmetrical facial expressions, the vaccines they were administered are not poison, none of those who were affected died as a result of vaccine administration and the facial paralysis they experienced completely resolved over time; but, the subtle coincidences between the movie and the study results are a perplexing curiosity.
While the vast majority of those who receive any vaccine experience no adverse reaction what so ever, adverse reactions can occur. If you think you or someone you know has been injured by a vaccine, compensation for the injury may be available. To find out if you qualify to file a case under the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program click and let the vaccine litigation experts at RawlsMcNelis provide the answers.