Jennifer Gibson, known for her work in “A Dog’s Way Home” and “Suits,” developed partial facial paralysis in 2021 and has spoken out about her experience, while still encouraging others to get the vax.
“Well this is not a video I want to make, and it’s kinda hard to make, because, as I’m watching myself I see what I’m gonna say, which is I have been diagnosed with Bell’s palsy, which is paralysis on one side of the face,” Gibson said in a now viral video.
“So, I got it about two weeks after getting my vaccine, and I had a rough go with the vaccine — and I guess still am — but I have to say that I would do it again,” the actress continued, “because it’s what we have to do to see people.”
The video, which was first posted to Gibson’s public Instagram page last year, has racked up more than 2.1 million views on a Thursday tweet.
On her Instagram account, where she’s describes herself as an “inclusive feminist,” Gibson captioned the video, “I’ve had many people follow this page after their own #diagnosis, so I’m sharing this video hoping it gives them optimism. My symptoms got worse after this video.”
“I was considered a severe case, and I am almost back to ‘normal’. (Whatever that is…) I didn’t see any improvement for about a month and I got really discouraged, so I hope this can help someone. #bellspalsy #recovery,” she continued.
Gibson received a variety of comments on the post, including one woman who said she developed partial facial paralysis too. “I was just recently diagnosed with Bell’s Palsy,” the comment said. “I had the booster shot 3 Pfizer weeks ago. From what my doctor said and the little research that is out there, there is no known cause to [Bell’s palsy]. Since it’s temporary and not life-threatening very little money goes towards research to learn more about it. I am not blaming the vaccine and like you I still encourage it. Since it can happen to anyone at any age, some get it twice, some women get it during pregnancy, there is no common thread of causes nor a specific solution. I’m wondering if you still think it was a vaccine reaction? You look great and I hope to have a great recovery like yours.”
Canadian actress Jennifer Gibson. pic.twitter.com/4FsC5ndfAp
— D. Scott @eclipsethis2003 (@eclipsethis2003) September 29, 2022
Speaking to Toronto City News in May 2021, Gibson said she wanted to speak “responsibly” about COVID vaccines.
“I wanted to talk about it responsibly,” she said, “I don’t want to discourage people from getting vaccines, and, strangely, I don’t really want to discourage them from getting this one.”
The actress said she started to see changes in her face about two weeks after her shot, and her doctor confirmed Gibson had developed Bell’s palsy.
One reason she got the vaccine, Gibson said, was because she “wanted to get back to real life.”
“I have friends who are fighting cancer and they can’t get their treatments,” she said.
“Now, I can say definitively, yeah, there is a downside,” the actress added.
In May 2021, Gibson shared a photo of her facial paralysis with her followers. “Sorry for the shocking pic, but this is my face right now,” she captioned the photo. “I’ve been diagnosed with #bellspalsy and the left side of my face is paralyzed. Lots of feels and lots to say, but the most important thing is I’m working on healing and I have every hope to recover fully. I’m going to keep a bit of a recovery journal here, so thanks for your support.”
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Some studies have appeared to show that there could be an association between Bell’s palsy and certain COVID vaccinations. One study in the Lancet Infectious Diseases journal showed an “overall increased risk of Bell’s palsy after immunisation with CoronaVac (Sinovac Biotech)” though it described the risk as small.