J&J Vaccine Poses New Risk
The FDA’s new vaccine warning pertaining to the Johnson & Johnson one-shot COVID-19 vaccine has caused concern throughout the health community. The new warning, issued by the United States Food and Drug Administration, says the shot has been linked to a disease called Guillain-Barre Syndrome where the immune system attacks the nervous system. Approximately 100 cases of Guillain-Barre have been discovered in people who received the vaccine out of 12.8 million total administered doses. According to the CDC, 95 of those 100 cases were serious and required hospitalization, including one death, and have been reported in men aged 50 and up. Most people diagnosed with Guillain-Barre fully recover.
Jeanne Marrazzo, director of infectious diseases at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, said that risk of contracting Guillain-Barré remains so minuscule that “it should not deter people from getting vaccinated,” and “does not provide an excuse to remain unvaccinated,” she told The Washington Post.
As the Delta variant becomes more prevalent than ever, the nation’s efforts to get more people vaccinated could be hindered by this small but significant warning. The U.S. already missed President Joe Biden’s self-imposed deadline of July 4 for having 70 percent of people with at least one dose. As of today, there is no data that suggests a link between either the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines and Guillain-Barre syndrome. Additionally, both Pfizer and Moderna, requiring two doses to take full effect, were developed differently from the Johnson & Johnson.
Earlier this year, there was a short pause on the use of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine due to blood clots found in people that received it. Johnson & Johnson also discarded approximately 75 million doses of the vaccine due to contamination problems at one of their distribution plants. According to the Washington Post, the CDC tracks Guillain-Barre syndrome each flu season. Federal health officials are maintaining that the benefits far outweigh the risks of being vaccinated at this time, and highly recommend that everyone seek vaccination as soon as possible. Vaccines are readily available throughout the country, often without needing an appointment.
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