COVID-19 vaccination seems to be temporarily associated with a wide range of neurological conditions including neuromyelitis optica spectrum disorder (NMOSD), reported a new study published in the Journal of Clinical Neuroscience. 

However, the incidence of these adverse events is low and the benefits of the vaccine outweigh its risks, the researchers noted. “Further studies with larger sample size and longer duration of follow-up are needed to prove or disprove causality association of these syndromes with COVID-19 vaccination,” they added.

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To explore the neurological diseases associated with COVID-19 vaccination, a team of researchers from the Department of Neurology, National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences in Bangalore, India, led by Seena Vengalil, MD, performed a retrospective chart review of patients with COVID-19 admitted to hospital between February 1, 2021 and June 30, 2022.

The researchers reviewed a total of 4672 medical records and found that 51 patients developed a neurological condition that was probably (48 cases) or possibly (3 cases) associated with COVID-19 vaccination. The most commonly used vaccine was COVIShield (ChAdOx1).

The most common of these neurological conditions was central nervous system demyelination seen in 39 patients (76.5 % of all cases). Most demyelination cases (59%) were seronegative. This was followed by antimyelin oligodendrocyte-glycoprotein associated demyelination (MOGAD) seen in 11 patients, and NMOSD seen in 5 patients.

Other conditions were much rarer and included stroke seen in 6 patients (11.8% of all cases), 2 of whom had thrombocytopenia and coagulopathy, Guillain-Barré-syndrome seen in 3 patients (5.9% of all cases), encephalitis seen in 2 patients (3.9% of all cases), and myositis seen in 1 patient (2% of all cases). 

Women seemed to be more at risk of developing these conditions compared to men.

Most neurological events (72.5%) occurred following the first dose of the vaccine between 2.5 and 24 days later.

At discharge, almost half of the patients (25 out of 51) had favorable outcomes.


Samim MM, Dhar D, Arshad F, et al. Co-VAN study: COVID-19 vaccine associated neurological diseases- an experience from an apex neurosciences centre and review of the literature. J Clin Neurosci. Published online December 29, 2022. doi:10.1016/j.jocn.2022.12.015