A video claiming to show dangerous COVID vaccine side-effects has gone viral – but scientists are skeptical

Shawn Skelton, a woman who posted a viral video of her convulsing while urging viewers to refuse COVID vaccines.
Shawn Skelton, a woman who posted a viral video of her convulsing while urging viewers to refuse COVID vaccines.

[W]e are now living in a post-social media world. Information, even medical or scientific information, may get to the public unfiltered, ripe to be misinterpreted by people who do not understand the relevant science. Such is the case with a “viral” video showing a woman who claims her symptoms, [a sudden onset of involuntary shaking,] are a side effect of the Moderna vaccine (short answer – they almost certainly are not).

When looking at the video it is possible to say what the movements are not – they are not convulsions, dystonia, myoclonus, ballismus, chorea, ticks, or any specific kind of tremor. After eliminating all the known phenomena of involuntary movements, what’s left?

[E]ither this is a new phenomenon currently unknown to neurology, or it represents a conversion disorder, which is essentially psychological. 

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Also, it is important to note that there is an elaborate reporting infrastructure to capture and analyze all potential side effects to the COVID vaccines. If new side effects do crop up, we will see them. So far there are only minor side effects, even after millions of doses. This does not mean the risk is zero, but it does mean that the risk of any serious side effect is millions to one against. 

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