CDC Panel Endorses J&J Vaccine Despite Guillain-Barré Syndrome Risk
A Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) expert panel has recommended continued use of the single-dose Johnson & Johnson (J&J) COVID-19 vaccine despite reports of Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS), a neurological illness, in a small number of inoculated individuals.
The syndrome affects the body’s immune system and damages nerve cells, causing muscle weakness and in some cases paralysis. Earlier this month, the FDA required a warning to J&J’s vaccine label warning of a possible increased risk of contracting the condition. The agency said vaccine safety monitoring data showed 100 preliminary GBS cases among individuals who have received the shot, including 95 cases requiring hospitalization and one fatality.
The risk of acquiring GBS is highest for the six weeks following vaccination, according to the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, which met last week to discuss the matter.
The committee also advised that immunocompromised individuals at increased risk of COVID-19 infection could benefit from a third dose of a messenger RNA-based vaccine from Pfizer/BioNTech or Moderna. ― Jason Scott