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Pause in coronavirus vaccine trial draws attention to rare spinal illness

Woman experiences pain 10 years after diagnosis
Posted at 6:42 PM, Sep 10, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-10 18:47:03-04

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — The apparent pause of the trial for a coronavirus vaccine over a rare spinal illness in a trial volunteer is leading one Palm Beach County woman to raise awareness about the illness.

"I'm coming at this just as another person who is a 40 year old who was paralyzed from the chest down 10 years ago, and it was a scary, altering time of my life," says Alyson Seligman, who was diagnosed with transverse myelitis.


Seligman said she is now managing the condition but still experiences pain in her feet and back.

She is not sure how she contracted the illness, but suspects it could have been related to a pregnancy or a flu shot at the time.

"Vaccines have often been implicated. I don't think there is any proven data to show there is a direct correlation," said Seligman's neurologist, Dr. Jennifer Buczyner.

At this point, there is no evidence to suggest the vaccine trial volunteer got transverse myelitis from the COVID-19 vaccine.

"Adverse reactions don't realty imply cause, but it gives us all pause that we want to get this investigated," Buczyner said.