Monday, 12 July 2021 17:43

Johnson & Johnson vaccine linked to neurological condition

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Johnson & Johnson vaccine linked to neurological condition DHHS

ROCKINGHAM — A vaccine that has already been linked with negative reactions could soon feature a warning of a rare neurological condition.

The Washington Post reported Monday that 100 cases of Guillain-Barré syndrome are connected to patients who received the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine. 

Around 12.8 million people have received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

Most of the cases have involved men aged 50 years or older, the Post reports

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:

“(GBS) is a rare disorder where the body’s immune system damages nerve cells, causing muscle weakness and sometimes paralysis. While its cause is not fully understood, the syndrome often follows infection with a virus or bacteria. Each year in the United States, an estimated 3,000 to 6,000 people develop GBS. Most people fully recover from GBS, but some have permanent nerve damage.”

One June 16, the CDC said that “no cases of GBS have been reported following vaccination in participants in the mRNA COVID-19 vaccine clinical trials.”

However, it also said that one case of GBS was reported in a participant in the Johnson & Johnson trial — compared to one case among those who received a placebo.

The Post reports that there is no data to show a pattern of similar risk with the other two vaccines with emergency use authorization made by Pfizer and Moderna.

However, WHYY reported in April the story of a woman who was diagnosed with GBS following the first dose of the Pfizer vaccine.

On July 1, Johnson & Johnson announced that its product was 85% effective “against severe/critical disease and demonstrated protection against hospitalization and death.”

Use of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine was temporarily halted in May after several women developed severe blood clots.

In March, The New York Post reported that a Virginia man’s skin “peeled off” after developing a rash all over his body as an adverse reaction to the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

The most common vaccine side effects, according to the CDC, are: 

  • Tiredness
  • Headache
  • Muscle pain
  • Chills
  • Fever
  • Nausea

Local, state and federal health agencies have been pushing for all Americans 12 years old and older to get vaccinated. North Carolina is even offering $1 million and $125,000 scholarships in an effort to boost vaccination rates.

All three vaccines with emergency use authorization in the U.S. are available in Richmond County. However, local health officials are trying to reserve the Pfizer vaccine for teenagers, as it is currently the only one authorized for use on those aged 12 and up. Moderna is now seeking the same approval.

Last week, the Richmond County Health Department reported that more older residents have been vaccinated than those who are in younger age groups.

As of Monday, 15,254 residents (34%) were fully vaccinated, according to the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services — just more than half of the Health Department’s goal of 66%.

On July 7, the Health Department reported 38 new cases of COVID-19 for the week, which has steadily been increasing.

The following day, DHHS reported that more than 99% of new cases involved non-vaccinated individuals.

However, a jab in the arm isn’t a guarantee against contracting COVID-19.

The CDC reported that more than 10,000 people were diagnosed with the coronavirus after 14 days of being fully vaccinated as of April 30. 

But, as of May 1, the CDC “transitioned from monitoring all reported vaccine breakthrough cases to focus on identifying and investigating only hospitalized or fatal cases due to any cause,” in order to “help maximize the quality of the data collected on cases of greatest clinical and public health importance.”

As of July 6, 5,186 patients with breakthrough infections were either hospitalized or died.

Vaccines are available at the Health Department Monday-Thursday 8 a.m.-5 p.m. and Fridays from 8-11 a.m.

There is no charge and no appointment necessary.