CDC warns of rare possible side effect from J&J COVID-19 vaccine

Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccines are stored in a refrigerator at South Shore University Hospital on March 3 in Bay Shore, New York. The Centers for Disease Control said Monday that about 100 cases of Guillain-Barre syndrome have been identified among the nearly 13 million Americans who have been given the J&J vaccine. Spencer Platt/Getty Images/TNS

U.S. public health officials warned Monday that the Johnson & Johnson vaccine against COVID-19 may cause an increased risk of an ultra-rare auto-immune disorder.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said about 100 cases of Guillain-Barre syndrome, in which the immune system attacks the nervous system, have been identified among the nearly 13 million Americans who have been given the J&J vaccine.

That’s about three to five times the number of cases that would be expected in the general population.

“The results do likely indicate a small possible risk of this side effect,” the CDC said in a statement.

Most of the cases were identified in men over 50 years old. Guillain-Barre syndrome is generally treatable but can cause paralysis or death in rare and severe cases.

Officials still insist the J&J vaccine, like other vaccines, is widely safe and effective.

But the Food and Drug Administration is expected to issue a warning about Guillain-Barre syndrome for those taking the single-shot vaccine, which has not been as widely used in the U.S. due to unrelated production woes.

The J&J vaccine has also been tied to rare cases of blood clots and stroke-like illnesses in some patients, most of whom are younger women.

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Tribune Wire

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