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UVA Health Center explains FDA warning on Johnson & Johnson vaccine

Published: Jul. 13, 2021 at 5:26 PM EDT
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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - The Food and Drug Administration has updated the label for the Johnson & Johnson coronavirus vaccine, saying there could be a slight increased risk of Guillain-Barré Syndrome.

Guillain-Barré Syndrome is a rare neurological condition. Dr. Bill Petri with UVA Health described it as an ascending paralysis, which causes many people to be hospitalized. He also mentioned how, in most cases, it does resolve.

“The main message is these extraordinarily rare side effects, they’re treatable,” Petri said. “The risk of the side effect, it just pales in comparison to the risk of getting COVID-19.”

Symptoms would typically show a week or two after getting the vaccine dose.

“If you got the Johnson & Johnson vaccine three weeks ago, stop worrying about it because it’s not going to happen,” Petri said. “If you receive the mRNA vaccines, this is not a concern either.”

Distribution of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine was briefly paused earlier this year because of the risk of a rare type of blood clotting complication. It was returned to market in April after it was determined the risk was low and the condition treatable.

“The FDA has not changed its approval of the J&J vaccine because, again, the benefits so far outweigh the risks,” Petri said.

The complications with the vaccine are extremely rare, and they usually can be treated.

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