To date, just under 286 million Covid-19 vaccines have been administered in the United States, with an average daily vaccination rate of 1.8 million doses. These figures include all doses from the PfizerBioNTech and Moderna double-dose regimens, as well as the single-dose vaccine from Johnson & Johnson. As millions of people in the United States and around the world have received vaccines (1.65 billion vaccines to date worldwide), recorded accounts of medical problems temporarily related to the administration of the vaccines are underway. collection. While some issues, including rare blood clotting possibly related to the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, have led to a temporary pause in vaccine delivery, a myriad of other issues, which may or may not be causally related to vaccines. , are under study.
A recent report published in this week Head and Neck Surgery in Otolaryngology JAMA evaluated the incidence of sudden sensorineural deafness (SSNHL, or “nervous deafness”) associated with the recent reception of one of the two anti-SARS-CoV-2 mRNA vaccines between December 14, 2020 and March 2, 2021. The study group, based in the Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery at Johns Hopkins University examined data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Adverse Vaccine Event Reporting System (VAERS) the United States. During the data review period, more than 86.5 million SARS-CoV-2 vaccines had been administered in the United States.
The authors recognized that VAERS data may be underreported, thereby identifying a range, from least likely to most likely, in the number of cases of SSNHL in the vaccinated population. Taking into account the potential bias of underreporting, they found a range between 40 and 147 cases of SSNHL, with an incidence ranging from 0.3 per 100,000 per year to 4.1 per 100,000 per year. Of the 40 actual cases of SSNHL reported to VAERS, 63% were female, with an average age of 56. Notification of this event occurred between 0 and 21 days after vaccination, with an average of four days after vaccination. The majority of patients (75%) received steroids, which is the standard treatment for sudden sensorineural hearing loss. There are no data from this group on the results of improving hearing after steroid treatment.
In 2016, a group based at Kaiser Permanente looked at the incidence of SSNHL and more than 20 million flu shots over a six-year period. As was the case in this month’s study, the authors did not find an increased incidence of SSNHL after receiving a flu shot.
The overall annual incidence of SSNHL in the general population was analyzed and reported in 2013 in the review Otology and neurotology. The authors reported an incidence of 27 per 100,000 per year, with a significant increase in incidence with age. Among those under 18, the incidence was 11 per 100,000, and for those aged 65 and over, the incidence increased to 77 per 100,000 per year.
The causes of SSNHL are very diverse. While the majority of cases of sudden deafness (which can occur in one or both ears) never have a source, and are therefore called “idiopathic”, a multitude of viruses and bacteria, as well as tumors, vascular events. and autoimmune diseases, can all explain SSNHL. Treatment usually includes oral steroids, but clinicians should rule out other conditions such as tumors or some bacterial infections before proceeding with medical treatment. Various factors, including degree of hearing loss, duration, and cause, if any, affect the likelihood of hearing recovery.
With the United States on track to reach 300 million doses of vaccines administered by the end of this month, now including all people aged 12 and over, it is essential that we continue to monitor the problems in the short term. and long term that are reported. Since so many people receive these vaccines, it is important to distinguish between time-associated events that are just that, coincident over time, from events that are distinctly related to the vaccines themselves. same. Medical events happen daily, some more frequent than others. With nearly half of the American population having already received at least one dose of a Covid-19 vaccine, the most remarkable association to date has been the drop in the number of daily cases, hospitalizations, patients in units. intensive care and deaths.