Did mRNA Vaccines Trigger Severe Nerve Damage?!

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Was the mRNA vaccines just shown to trigger severe nerve damage, including multiple sclerosis?!

Take a look at the viral claim, and find out what the facts really are!


Claim : mRNA Vaccines Trigger Severe Nerve Damage!

The Children’s Health Defense (CHD) activist group, which is chaired by Robert F. Kennedy Jr., just posted an article suggesting that Brazilian researchers uncovered two cases of serious nerve damage in patients who received mRNA COVID-19 vaccines.

This was what was posted on the CHD page on X (formerly Twitter):

Children’s Health Defense : ūüö® COVID vaccine triggers nerve damage, MS

Brazilian researchers have uncovered two cases of serious nerve damage in patients who received mRNA COVID-19 vaccines.

Here is an excerpt from the CHD article (archive). Please feel free to skip to the next section for the facts!

COVID vaccine triggers nerve damage, MS

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No Evidence mRNA Vaccines Trigger Nerve Damage!

Let’s take a closer look at the various claims in the article, and find out what the facts really are!

Fact #1 : It Was A Case Presentation

Let me start by pointing out that the Brazilian paper in question was a case presentation submitted to Neuroimmunology Reports, called Multiple Sclerosis and Optic Neuritis triggered by COVID-19 mRNA by Moretti, Fabiani, et. al.

You can read it in full here.

Fact #2 : Paper Did Not Conclude mRNA Vaccines Cause Nerve Damage

If you read the conclusion, you will note that the authors never actually concluded that mRNA vaccines causes nerve damage. The authors only pointed out that such cases should be reported, and that “more studies are still needed”. Here is the relevant quote from the paper, with my emphasis underlined.

Diseases or symptoms triggered or linked to this new vaccine technology must be reported and studied, contributing to worldwide databases.

More studies are still needed on the association between neurological complications and the vaccine against COVID-19. Long-term monitoring is needed if the vaccine can cause or trigger neurological disorders.

Fact #3 : Paper Says Vaccine Benefits Outweigh The Risks

Anyone who reads the conclusion will also realise that the authors actually pointed out that the benefits of vaccinating against COVID-19 outweigh the risks. On top of that, they said that no neurological condition is an absolute contraindication for vaccinating against COVID-19.

Overall, the benefits of vaccination outweigh the risks of neurological complications, and, to date, no neurological condition is an absolute contraindication for vaccination against COVID-19.

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Fact #4 : AstraZeneca Vaccine Is A Virus Vector Vaccine

With all due respect to the authors, the editors and the peer-reviewers, I should point out that the first case report does not involve any mRNA vaccine.

The first case involved the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine, which is a virus vector vaccine. It is not an mRNA vaccine.

ChAdOx1 was not the vaccine’s name either. Rather, ChAdOx1 was the name of the modified chimpanzee adenovirus the Oxford-AstraZeneca used as its vector.

Fact #5 : First Patient Already Had Multiple Sclerosis

What may not be obvious, but was mentioned in the paper, was that the first patient – who received the AstraZeneca vaccine, already had multiple sclerosis (MS).

The authors pointed out that she already met the 2017 McDonald’s criteria for multiple sclerosis. That meant that this patient had prior MRI-detected lesions, or oligoclonal bans in the spinal fluid, or prior clinical symptoms of MS.

This is because a key requirement for the diagnosis of MS is Dissemination In Time (DIT) – there must be evidence of damage, at different times, and to different parts, of the central nervous system (source).

In fact, the authors pointed out that the COVID-19 vaccination only triggered the symptoms, but did not actually cause multiple sclerosis. Here’s the relevant quote, with my emphasis underlined.

The female patient met the McDonald’s (2017) criteria for multiple sclerosis, and the vaccine only triggered the symptoms.

I should point out that multiple sclerosis patients often suffer such relapses of symptoms that are triggered by anything from viral infections to stress. Certain vaccinations involving live viruses or bacteria can also trigger a relapse.

Since the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine (Vaxzevria) uses a modified chimpanzee virus, it is plausible that it may trigger symptoms in multiple sclerosis patients.

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Did mRNA Vaccines Trigger Severe Nerve Damage?!

Fact #6 : Multiple Sclerosis Can Cause Optic Neuritis

The second patient in the Brazilian case presentation developed optic neuritis – inflammation of the optic nerve. Optic neuritis is most commonly seen in multiple sclerosis patients.

Even though this 8 year-old boy is not known to have multiple sclerosis, the authors noted that a brain MRI showed three small acute hypertension lesions in his brain. Such brain lesions developing in multiple places over time (Dissemination in Time, DIT) are highly suggestive of multiple sclerosis, as per the McDonald criteria.

In other words – it is possible that this patient may also have multiple sclerosis that may not have been previously diagnosed, whose symptoms was triggered by the vaccine – just like in the first case.

Fact #7 : COVID-19 Infection Can Cause Optic Neuritis

I should also point out that past COVID-19 infections can cause optic neuritis. In fact, this January 2022 case study published in the Indian Journal of Ophthalmology detailed three patients who developed optic neuritis weeks or months after recovering from mild COVID-19 infections.

The authors noted that in those three patients, demyelinating lesions were identified in two cases, while the third case was found with serum anti-myelin antibodies.

  • Patient 1 suddenly lost vision in his left eye two weeks after recovering from mild COVID-19.
  • Patient 2 lost vision in his left eye six months after recovering from mild COVID-19.
  • Patient 3 lost vision in his left eye twice, two weeks after recovering from mild COVID-19, and then again four weeks later.

All three patients recovered their vision, but as you can see – COVID-19 infections can potentially cause optic neuritis long after recovery. It is plausible that the second patient in the Brazilian case presentation may have had a prior COVID-19 infection (before his vaccination).

That is why we cannot draw conclusions from any of these case reports / presentations. They all need to be investigated to determine their actual cause.

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Fact #8 : Both Patients Recovered

It is also important to note that neither patients mentioned in this Brazilian case presentation died.

The first patient recovered partially after treatment with methylprednisolone, and was discharged with the treatment of dimethyl fumarate.

The second patient was also treated with methylprednisolone, and experienced a complete recovery, with no further treatment.

Methylprednisolone is often used in symptomatic attacks of multiple sclerosis. Dimethyl fumarate is also a treatment of multiple sclerosis.

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Dr. Adrian Wong has been writing about tech and science since 1997, even publishing a book with Prentice Hall called Breaking Through The BIOS Barrier (ISBN 978-0131455368) while in medical school.

He continues to devote countless hours every day writing about tech, medicine and science, in his pursuit of facts in a post-truth world.


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