Guillain-Barré Syndrome and Johnson & Johnson Vaccine: What to Do


Johnson & Johnson’s beleaguered Covid-19 vaccine may be associated with a small increased risk of Guillain-Barré syndrome, a rare but potentially serious neurological condition. federal officials said On Monday. The Food and Drug Administration added a warning about the possible side effect. to information pages about the vaccine.

The risk seems very small. So far, there have been 100 reports of the syndrome in people who have received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. Approximately 13 million doses of the vaccine have been administered in the United States.

Here are answers to some frequently asked questions about the syndrome and its connection to the vaccine.

Guillain-Barré is a rare condition in which the body’s immune system attacks nerve cells. It can cause muscle weakness and paralysis. Although symptoms usually go away within weeks, in some cases the condition can cause permanent nerve damage. In the United States, there are typically 3,000 to 6,000 cases of the syndrome per year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It is most common in adults over the age of 50.

The exact cause of the syndrome is unknown, but in most cases the condition follows another illness or infection, such as the flu. HE IS also reported In people with Covid-19.

While the risk seems small, this is not the first vaccine to be linked to Guillain-Barré. A major swine flu vaccine campaign in 1976 resulted in a small increase in the incidence of the syndrome; The vaccine resulted in roughly one extra case of Guillain-Barré for every 100,000 people vaccinated. Associated with seasonal flu vaccine roughly one to two additional cases for every million vaccines administered.

“I think the data that the flu vaccine causes Guillain-Barré syndrome is pretty convincing, but it’s a very small risk,” said Daniel Salmon, director of the Johns Hopkins University Vaccine Safety Institute.

shingles vaccine Shingrix may also increase the risk of the condition.

It’s not entirely clear why some vaccines can cause Guillain-Barré. Dr. “We don’t really understand the biological mechanism,” Salmon said. “An incredible disappointment.”

After vaccination with the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, a hundred reports of the syndrome were submitted to the federal Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS), officials said on Monday. Of these, 95 cases were hospitalized and one was fatal.

Officials said the syndrome is usually reported about two weeks after vaccination, especially in men, most of whom are 50 years or older. The agency said in a statement that there is not yet sufficient evidence that the vaccine causes the disease, but that the FDA will continue to monitor the situation.

The FDA said there is no data to suggest a link between the condition and Covid-19 vaccines made by Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna, both based on a different technology.

The FDA states in its revised information sheet for patients that the syndrome is most likely to occur within 42 days of vaccination. You should consult a doctor if you begin to experience weakness or tingling in your arms and legs, double vision, or difficulty walking, speaking, chewing, swallowing, or controlling your bladder or bowels.

If the link between the vaccine and Guillain-Barré is real, it appears to far outweigh the risks of Covid-19, experts say. In a statement from the CDC, it was stated that almost all hospitalizations and deaths from Covid-19 in the United States occurred in unvaccinated people. The agency recommends that everyone 12 years of age or older get the vaccine.

Dr. “Everything has risks,” Salmon said. “And the key to decision making is to optimize the benefits and reduce the risks.” “Covid is a pretty nasty disease that has killed 600,000 people,” he added.


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