Ministers risk damaging trust in the vaccine if they strong-arm young people into getting jabbed, a government adviser has warned – as a video of a woman ‘struggling to walk’ was liked 100,000 times on Instagram.
In one of the posts, Georgia-Rose Segal, 34, from London, is seen staggering before nearly collapsing on to a kitchen floor. Another clip in the same series then shows her legs and feet spasming in a hospital bed.
She said the symptoms developed after receiving her second Pfizer jab. She said she had been diagnosed with Functional Neurological Disorder, which can cause muscle weakness.
FND can be triggered by traumatic physical or emotional events, including head injury, a medical or surgical procedure, and vaccinations, although this is extremely rare.
Dr Jan Coebergh, a consultant neurologist at St George’s University Hospitals, London, said vaccines can ‘trigger’ FND, but that is not the same as ’cause’.
He told the Sun: ‘It follows the vaccine, but is not ’caused’ in a sense. Sometimes we use the word trigger or precipitate.’
Dr Coebergh said stress and uncertainty about the vaccines, as well as the physical side effects of the jab – such as flu-like symptoms and pain at the injection – may push FND to evolve.
‘When you start paying attention to that body part when you believe something is wrong, FND can happen’, he said.
Ms Segal announced yesterday that she had been released from hospital, and shared a photo of her using a Zimmer frame. The original video of her struggling to walk was uploaded onto Instagram account Imjustbait.
Recent figured have revealed that while infections among young adults have soared to a record high, vaccine uptake has slowed to a fraction of what it was in the spring.
One in three 18-to-29 year olds have still not had a first dose of the Covid-19 vaccine, NHS England figures show. But the virus is running rampant in this age group, with more than one in 100 aged 20 to 29 testing positive last week.
Professor Adam Finn, of the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation, said people could be ‘nudged’ to get jabbed but must not feel they are being forced into it.
Asked if the Government should use vaccine passports as a way of encouraging younger people to have their jabs, he told radio station LBC: ‘It has to be done really quite carefully.
‘If people begin to feel they are being kind of forced against their will to do something, then in a sense that’s quite a damaging thing to do because it gives people the impression vaccination is something being imposed on them.
‘Nudging can be done but it has to be done in a way that people don’t feel they are being pushed into something they don’t want to do.’ The professor of paediatrics at Bristol University warned that young people are getting ‘seriously ill’ from coronavirus and he urged them to have their jabs.
He said there have been close to 200 admissions, with an average age of 40, in the city during the current wave caused by the spread of the Delta, or Indian, variant. ‘We have had people under 30 on our intensive care unit and also requiring high-level oxygen therapy,’ he added.
The video of Ms Segal appears to be fuelling anti-vaxxer sentiment on Instagram.
One comment from an account which has 86,000 followers said: ‘This is why I have not got it yet, I’ll get it if it’s life and death but mans had covid and got over it like a cold and no one gave man a vaccine for my cold.’
Another, from a user with 20,000 followers, read: ‘And this is the s*** they’re trying to force into everyone’s bodies… no thanks, had worse colds than Covid.’
Under plans being considered by the Government, football fans who are not fully vaccinated could be barred from attending Premier League matches from October.
Boris Johnson yesterday faced further criticism from backbench Conservatives who were already opposed to plans to introduce vaccine passports for entry into nightclubs this autumn.