Pfizer: electric shocks, burns… what is Parsonage-Turner syndrome, a side effect of the vaccine?

The National Agency for the Safety of Medicines and Health Products (ANSM) drew up a report in March 2022 concerning the monitoring of adverse events following vaccination against Covid-19 with Pfizer-BioNTech.

Electric shocks, constrictions … unpleasant symptoms identified in some patients who have received the Pfizer vaccine, otherwise known as “Comirnaty”. ANSM experts in fact carried out a new analysis in March 2022 of the cases declared since the start of vaccination following the assessment carried out in report 18 published on September 24, 2021. In total, 43 cases of Parsonage-Turner syndrome were reported, including 27 over the period.

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What is Parsonage-Turner Syndrome?

Also called amyotrophic neuralgia, this syndrome corresponds to inflammation of the brachial plexus, that is to say a group of nerves, which is located between the shoulder and the collarbone. This condition mainly affects men around the age of 40.

Three phases follow one another: first an inflammatory phase causing severe pain in the shoulder, then a decrease in muscle strength and finally a loss of muscle mass.

What the cases have shown

All reported cases were reviewed and analyzed with an expert neurologist. 18 remained on the bench, for lack of elements. Of the remaining 25 cases, 7 occurred after the first dose, 14 after the second dose, and 4 after the booster. Of these 25 cases, 9 cases are recovered or in the process of recovery, 14 are not recovered, one is recovered with sequelae and the information is not known in one case, specifies the National Medicines Safety Agency and health products in its update dated March 19, 2022.

The National Agency for the Safety of Medicines and Health Products has counted 8 cases of a particular form, either in their clinical expression (a focal form, an atypical form, an incipient form), or in their context of occurrence (a relapse in a person with a history of Parsonage-Turner, from which she had fully recovered); one case reports a contralateral Parsonage-Turner syndrome of the vaccinated arm, one case concerns a Parsonage-Turner syndrome occurring in a postpartum context (period considered to be at risk of such a pathology), 2 cases mention the existence of trauma. This new analysis confirms that thehe role of the vaccine cannot be excluded.

MyVaccines Supplementary Information

Overall, the number of adverse events following vaccination is very low when compared to the very high number of people vaccinated. The regular publication of post-vaccination adverse event monitoring data is a guarantee of transparency. However, a post-vaccination adverse event is not synonymous with an adverse event attributable to the vaccine, although the two terms are often used interchangeably.

Let us recall that if, on a given date, a million people received a placebo (inactive preparation which is substituted for a drug) instead of a vaccine, we could observe in the following six weeks 1 to 7 deaths, 2 to 5 cases of Guillain-Barré syndrome and 30 to 90 cases of optic neuritis; for 10,000 pregnant women, the expected figure of spontaneous abortions is 170. These average figures are probably very variable depending on time and place, temporizes the site MyVaccines.net.

What are the symptoms that should alert you?

Parsonage-Turner syndrome results in a sudden inflammation, which appears especially at night, and which will lead to very strong pain in the shoulder and neck, skin tenderness, but also constrictions and feelings of burning, electric shock.

As far as treatment is concerned, it is essentially based on the administration of cortisone by the doctor. Among alternative medicines, acupuncture and auriculotherapy are proving to be effective in reducing pain since they act on the pain control of these nerves, indicates doctor Gilles Mondolini, sports doctor, osteopath and acupuncturist, at the Women’s Journal.

Already in January, the ANSM had identified several side effects linked to the Pfizer vaccine:

  • pain, skin reaction (redness), swelling at the injection site
  • headache
  • fatigue, fever, chills
  • muscle or joint pain
  • digestive disorders
  • appearance of lymph nodes
  • allergic reaction (urticaria, swelling on the face, etc.)

Note that health professionals or vaccinated persons can report on the site signalement.social-sante.gouv.fr/ any immediate or delayed adverse effect following vaccination.

The reporting form will be adapted to collect additional vaccine-related data when reporting adverse reactions.

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