Fact Check: Did Justin Bieber get Ramsay Hunt Syndrome from COVID-19 vaccination?

Justin Bieber posted a video about his Ramsay Hunt Syndrome diagnosis on Instagram (Images via @justinbieber/Instagram)
Justin Bieber posted a video about his Ramsay Hunt Syndrome diagnosis on Instagram (Images via @justinbieber/Instagram)

After Justin Bieber shared the emotional news of his Ramsay Hunt Syndrome diagnosis, many fans took to social media to express their shock and worries about the state of his health.

However, many anti-vaxxers immediately launched into investigative mode, trying to connect the dots between his ailment and COVID-19 vaccination.

Ramsay Hunt Syndrome (RHS), also known as Herpes Zoster Oticus, is a shingles infection that affects facial nerves, leading to paralysis and hearing defects. RHS is caused by the varicella-zoster virus (VZV), which is known to cause chickenpox.


Justin Bieber did not contract Ramsay Hunt Syndrome from COVID vaccination

Tech ARP confirmed that Justin Bieber did not get Ramsay Hunt Syndrome due to the COVID-19 vaccine. This is because only the varicella-zoster virus can cause this condition.

RHS can only be triggered after a patient has chickenpox. It cannot occur without a previous chickenpox infection.

Health researchers Oscar Hou In Chou, Charlene Jane Woo, and Bernard Yung Cheung from the department of Medicine at the University of Hong Kong penned an article on the adverse effects of the COVID-19 vaccine. This article is often quoted as 'evidence' of Bieber contracting RHS because of the vaccine.

However, it is necessary to point out that Chou, Woo, and Cheung only studied a rare case of RHS after vaccination. The trio also did not conclude that COVID-19 vaccines caused the paralysis.

Moreover, it is not confirmed if Bieber has been vaccinated. It can only be assumed that he was vaccinated before his February 2022 concerts due to the WHO guidelines on gatherings, and even if that were the case, he would have received the shots last year.


What is the COVID-19 vaccination-RHS study about?

The article outlines the health issues of a healthy middle-aged man who received the vaccine.

According to the research piece, the patient, aged 37, was healthy prior to getting the vaccine shot. However, two days after the first dose, he was diagnosed with Ramsay Hunt Syndrome. He developed vesicles in his right ear, followed by pain and fever.

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It soon resulted in tinnitus and eventual hearing loss. The patient also experienced numbness of the tongue and facial palsy. The researchers made their deductions from the viewpoint that his symptoms began to show after vaccination. The research article read:

“As his symptoms developed 2 days after vaccination, we suspected that the vaccination triggered RHS. This would be the first reported case of RHS after COVID-19 vaccination.”

So far, this is the first and only case of facial paralysis reported post-COVID-19 vaccination. The researchers concluded that the vaccine could have triggered VZV in the patient.


Justin Bieber broke news of his diagnosis on Instagram

The public found out about Justin Bieber’s health after the award-winning singer took it upon himself to let fans know why he had canceled some of his slated shows. In a video shared on his Instagram page, Bieber showed an up-close view of his face, with the affected part visibly unmoving.

The Cold Water singer explained that he had contracted a virus that attacks the nerves in his ear, leaving half of his face paralyzed.

Edited by Suchitra
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