Ménière’s Disease and the COVID Vaccines

A lifelong friend writes:

I took the first shot of the Pfizer COVID vaccine on January 16. Two days later I developed a feeling of fullness in my left ear, some sinus congestion, and chills, which I took to be side effects of the vaccine. The next day, the chills and congestion were gone, but the feeling of fullness–almost water-loggedness–in my ear has persisted since. But that was just the beginning. On January 29, my left ear started ringing and I had an attack of vertigo and vomiting that lasted several hours: the world spins around you making all forms of physical activity, including walking, impossible. Every day since then, I’ve had an attack of vertigo that lasts more than an hour, and the ringing and sense of fullness in my ear have ebbed and flowed, making it difficult to concentrate; indeed, the experience has been debilitating.

I saw a doctor yesterday, an eminent expert on hearing and balance, and he diagnosed Ménière’s disease. I asked him if this was triggered by the vaccine and he said that he has been seeing cases like this arising from the vaccines, as well as from COVID itself; he suggested that the vaccines may trigger inflammation in the ear that the body’s immune response does not eliminate. He recommended that, given my apparent reaction to the first shot, I not take the booster shot of the vaccine.

I saw another doctor today, and he insisted that there could be no connection between the vaccine and my condition and suggested that the fact that it started two days after I had taken the vaccine was pure chance. This doctor said that I should take the booster.

Although I have never had this sense of fullness or ringing in my ear before, and have never had daily attacks of vertigo before, I have had a total of three or four bouts of vertigo in the past; those occurred six to ten years ago and until now I had had none since.