I Worried the COVID Vaccine Gave My Husband a Stroke. It Took a Year to Find the Truth

In this commentary in the San Francisco Chronicle, Stanford Health Policy's Michelle Mello — professor of health policy and professor of law — shares her personal account of the year-long struggle to diagnose her husband's autoimmune disease.
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“My husband can’t watch soccer games anymore, and for a year I wondered if the COVID-19 vaccine was to blame.

“His first stroke happened a few days after a COVID vaccination. It flummoxed everyone: He had no previous health problems, and the vaccine he got wasn’t associated with stroke. As a health researcher and vaccine proponent, I had a hard time making sense of it.

“Now, at just 47, he has survived two strokes and lives with a constellation of small, weird brain impairments. For some reason, watching soccer players zip around the field blows some mysterious circuitry that rerouted to fix his post- stroke double vision.

“When his first stroke happened, my husband and I thought we’d never understand why. Still, we got our young sons vaccinated, despite our uncertainty. Since then, I’ve heard from anti-vaxxers who think my husband and I deserve a fiery death for that decision. I’ve also heard from other young stroke victims who reached out to us looking for answers. It took time, but those answers are finally within our grasp, and they aren’t what we expected."


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Michelle Mello Stanford

Michelle Mello

Professor of Health Policy, Professor of Law
Mello examines the intersection of law, ethics and health policy.

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