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NSW minister protects eye from infection following Bell’s palsy diagnosis

NSW Customer Services Minister Victor Dominello

A NSW minister is being treated for Bell’s palsy after viewers noticed his “droopy eye” during a COVID-19 press conference earlier this month and urged him to seek medical attention.

Customer Services Minister Victor Dominello is wearing an eye patch and is on medication after being diagnosed with the condition on 18 August.

“The patch is on my right eye – as that is the side of my face that has been frozen,” he explained.

“The patch stops the eye from getting infected until I can start blinking with it again.”

Dominello took to social media to thank well-wishes and people who had reached out to him to share their own experiences with Bell’s palsy.

He said he was also having acupuncture, given the feedback he received from many people with lived experience of the condition.

Some viewers suspected Dominello had suffered a stroke.

Others on social media were concerned his symptoms could be related to his COVID vaccination.

Dominello addressed their concerns on Twitter: “People are asking about my vaccination status. [I] had my first jab of Astra Zeneca on 27 May, was diagnosed with Bell’s Palsy on 18 August (almost three months later).”

He expects to get his second dose of Astra Zeneca on 30 August.

“The incidence of Bell’s palsy in both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccine trial participants was similar to the incidence of Bell’s palsy in the general US population,” Dominello tweeted, citing a Forbes report published in December 2020.

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