My husband had a stroke after his COVID vaccine. We gave our kid his shot anyway

Faculty Publications 33
Stanford Law Professor Michelle Mello

(This opinion essay was first published in the San Francisco Chronicle on July 6, 2021.)

A few days after receiving his second COVID vaccination, my husband woke up seeing double. He’d been feeling unwell, but this new symptom seemed odd.

Should we come in to urgent care, we asked our doctor. No, the emergency room, we were told.

Twelve hours later, a brain MRI showed a tiny white spot. My otherwise healthy 45-year-old husband had had a small stroke.

Even after what one doctor called “a million-dollar workup,” no one can figure out what happened. The hunt for some underlying condition turned up nothing. The vaccine he got hasn’t been associated with stroke.

Maybe we should report it to the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System, the database that tracks events possibly related to vaccines, I said. The hospital care team shifted uncomfortably.

As a health policy professor who works on vaccination issues, I knew why: Anti-vaccination groups are combing those reports looking for tidbits to support their claims that the vaccines are unsafe. They’re wildly misconstruing the data, leaping to unfounded conclusions about causality — and the Tucker Carlsons of the world are helping them.

(Continue reading the opinion essay on San Francisco Chronicle’s page here.)