Vaccine-Induced Functional Neurological Disorders in the Covid-19 Era

The large amount of information available to the public regarding vaccines against Covid-19 coupled with pandemic stress and increased somatic attention could potentially precipitate development of functional neurological disorders (FNDs) following vaccination. A growing number of reports indicate that functional symptoms may follow Covid-19 vaccination, similar to those observed with other vaccines previously. We review previously reported cases of FND following vaccination against Covid-19 and present three additional cases. While two patients presented to the Emergency Department with functional movement disorders, one patient presented with protracted limb weakness and sensory dysfunction. The superficial resemblance to Guillain-Barré syndrome, a known but uncommon complication of vaccination prompted an extensive workup. Clinicians need to convey the diagnosis of FND in clear and unequivocal terms to facilitate institution of appropriate therapy and rehabilitation, but importantly also to dispel any doubts in the minds of the public regarding the safety of the available vaccines. Given the presence of significant vaccine hesitancy in many countries, this is critical to the success of the global immunization effort.