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Tourette syndrome and the Covid vaccine

Tourette syndrome and the Covid vaccine

Posted on 4 January 2022 by Pippa McClounan


TA Medical Director, Jeremy Stern, addresses some common concerns regarding TS and the Covid vaccine.

The Covid vaccine is safe for people with Tourette syndrome. There is no evidence to suggest that people with TS should not be vaccinated.

The Association of British Neurologists recommends that people with all neurological conditions consider vaccination and Tourettes Action recommends the same for people with TS. The Tourette Association of America also support vaccination - you can read more here

Tics do vary in severity over time and many will have experienced an exacerbation if they feel ill for other reasons, such as having an infection. Many different vaccines including those for Covid can cause minor reactions and make a minority of people feel ill, this could be associated with a short term change in tics but there is no biological reason for serious concern.

The benefit of full vaccination against Covid is a very significant reduction in risk of infection, including the Omicron variant. Whilst the infection is often mild and certain groups are more vulnerable it is still the case that people of all ages who are infected are at risk of serious illness, hospitalisation and death or chronic illness. Infection of any severity also risks transmission to others, especially at home.

Some people have asked about exemption from vaccination due to TS, which could be in the sense of travel regulations/quarantine, self-isolation after household exposure or entry into certain venues depending on regulations in force at the time (please see Government websites for current details).

As TS alone is not a medical reason to avoid vaccination, Tourettes Action does not support exemption from regulations in the event of such a mechanism being in force. However, there may be other factors in individual cases.

Vaccination is not mandatory and remains a personal choice.

It is understandable to be concerned or unsure what to do for the best especially with some sources of information being unreliable - the overwhelming evidence is in favour of vaccination in general. Tourettes Action’s view is that people with Tourette syndrome should not be excluded from this life-saving benefit.

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