Spectrum of various CNS inflammatory demyelination diseases following COVID-19 vaccinations

Acta Neurol Belg. 2024 Feb;124(1):193-203. doi: 10.1007/s13760-023-02373-0. Epub 2023 Sep 5.


Background and purpose: Although rare, neurological adverse events have been reported post-COVID-19 vaccination. This study reports 16 patients diagnosed with CNS inflammatory demyelinating diseases (CNS-IDD) within 6 weeks of COVID-19 vaccine administration.

Methodology: A prospective observational study was conducted from June 2021 to May 2022. All patients were diagnosed according to the latest international guidelines with CNS-IDD within 6 weeks of COVID-19 vaccine exposure. Data regarding the demographic profile, clinical features, type of COVID-19 vaccination, radiological findings and occurrence of symptoms were noted and further analysed using descriptive statistics.

Results: We reported 16 cases (median age 40 years) of CNS demyelination: fourteen occurred in temporal association with ChAdOx1-S vaccine and two in association with BBV152 vaccine. Median time duration of presenting symptoms after vaccination was 19 days (3-40 days). The most common presentation was myelitis (7/16 patients), followed by optic neuritis (6/16 patients). Demyelination events were reported after first and second dose in thirteen and five patients respectively, although two patients reported such events after both vaccine dosages. Myelin oligodendrocyte glycoprotein (MOG) IgG antibodies were positive in eight patients. Tumefactive demyelination was seen in four patients. Management included high-dose methylprednisolone, PLEX, IVIG or a combination of those, with a favourable outcome in the majority of cases.

Conclusion: Although a rare event, awareness regarding potential demyelinating episodes post-COVID-19 vaccination can help in early diagnosis. The presence of increased MOG-IgG antibodies with temporal association in post-COVID vaccine patients raises a possibility of an immunogenic phenomenon leading to demyelinating disorders.

Keywords: CNS inflammatory demyelinating diseases; COVID-19 vaccine; ChAdOx1 nCoV-19; Myelin oligodendrocyte glycoprotein.

Publication types

  • Observational Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Autoantibodies
  • COVID-19 Vaccines / adverse effects
  • COVID-19* / prevention & control
  • Central Nervous System Diseases* / chemically induced
  • Demyelinating Diseases* / chemically induced
  • Humans
  • Immunoglobulin G
  • Myelin-Oligodendrocyte Glycoprotein
  • Vaccination / adverse effects


  • COVID-19 Vaccines
  • Myelin-Oligodendrocyte Glycoprotein
  • Autoantibodies
  • Immunoglobulin G