The Europe Medicines Agency has recommended adding a rare spinal inflammation called transverse myelitis as a side effect of AstraZeneca’s and Janssen’s (Johnson and Johnson) COVID-19 vaccines.
The committee, after reviewing data, concluded that a causal relationship between these two vaccines and transverse myelitis is at least a reasonable possibility.
Transverse myelitis is a rare neurological condition in which the spinal cord is inflamed. Transverse implies that the inflammation extends horizontally across the spinal cord. Partial transverse myelitis and partial myelitis are terms sometimes used to specify inflammation that only affects part of the width of the spinal cord.
Transverse myelitis is characterized by weakness and numbness of the limbs, deficits in sensation and motor skills, dysfunctional urethral and anal sphincter activities, and dysfunction of the autonomic nervous system that can lead to episodes of high blood pressure. Signs and symptoms vary according to the affected level of the spinal cord.