FDA adds new warning to J&J COVID-19 vaccine

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AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF) — The Food and Drug Administration added a second warning on Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccine Monday to warn recipients of a possible link to Guillain-Barré syndrome, a rare neurological disorder. Out of the nearly 13 million Americans who have received the vaccine, about 100 have been diagnosed with the syndrome.

“It stimulates the immune system to attack the nerves in the body and causes weakness,” Dr. Phillip Coule, Augusta University Health’s Chief Medical Officer, explains.

Guillain-Barré syndrome is rare and can develop within six weeks of vaccination. It can cause paralysis and weakness. Symptoms include tingling and weakness in hands and feet, double vision and difficulty moving your face. Coule notes it is most common in men ages 50 and older.

“If it does happen, it is serious.”

The FDA’s warning is concerning for those who have been vaccinated with Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine and those deciding which vaccine to choose. In a NewsChannel 6 poll Tuesday, 29 out of 32 people said they would not choose the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. However, the vaccine remains popular as it is a single dose shot.

“In my opinion, the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines have better safety profiles. Larger amounts of people have been vaccinated, and we have not seen this condition with those. In my opinion, those might be better options. But in some cases, for example, where there is a need to just give one shot and not have to give a second shot, the risk of COVID far outweighs the risk of anything related to side effects of this vaccine.”

“By far, the greater risk is getting COVID,” he adds. “I’d recommend if you haven’t gotten vaccinated, you get vaccinated.”

Anyone experiencing symptoms associated with Guillain-Barré syndrome should contact their doctor.

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