Johnson & Johnson vaccine

Possible J&J Vaccine Link to Rare Neurological Condition May Give Some Cause for Pause

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For the second time since its release, the FDA is issuing a warning for the one-shot Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine -- this time over concerns it could lead to an increased risk of a rare neurological condition known as Guillain-Barre syndrome.

For some, the vaccine was considered a one-shot wonder. Now though, at least one San Diego woman is wondering whether she should get any more J&J vaccine shots. In a social media post, Sarah King made a video chronicling her role in the Johnson and Johnson vaccine trial.

“I’m on my way to my unblinding," King excitedly said on the video. "Did I get the placebo or did I get the real thing? I’m getting emotional. It just feels really good to be a part of something, the solution instead of the problem."

The 28-year-old music instructor is part of a family full of medical professionals who have never met a vaccine they didn’t like.

The FDA has attached a new warning to the Johnson & Johnson coronavirus vaccine, but officials said the benefits of getting the vaccine still outweigh the risks, reports NBC 7's Dana Griffin.

“They believe in science, believe in medicine and believe in helping out," King said.

But now that the Johnson & Johnson vaccine has been linked to a second safety concern in less than six months, it's giving King a little pause.

“I’ve  even thought about when it comes time for me to go for a  booster shot ... to kind of ditch the trial and go ahead and get Pfizer or Moderna," King told NBC 7

In April there was a 10-day pause in administering the J&J vaccine because the FDA warned of an increased risk of blood clots in a small group of people.

Now, three months later, the FDA is issuing another warning, over a concern the vaccine could lead to an increased risk of a rare neurological disorder, Guillain-Barre syndrome.

National City Mayor Alejandra Sotelo-Solis is also taking part in the Johnson & Johnson vaccine trial as well.

“I’m all in for two years,” Sotelo-Solis said confidently regardless of the latest vaccine concerns.

Despite the new warning, like many doctors, Sotelo-Solis is still urging people to get vaccinated.

"You have a smorgasbord of vaccines to choose from," Sotelo-Solis said. "So if this, you know, is cause for pause, then, you know, research another one."

Of the more than 12 million J&J vaccine shots administered in the United States, there have been around 100 reports of people developing Guillan-Barre syndrome.

“I don’t think people who have gotten it probably should be concerned, especially if they got it over a month or two ago,” explained Dr. Davey Smith, the chief of infectious diseases at UC San Diego. "It usually happens a few weeks after getting the shot. It is super rare."

Johnson & Johnson issued a statement about the Guillan-Barre syndrome cases that reads, in part: “Most occurred within 42 days after vaccination. While the chance of having this occur is very low, Johnson & Johnson has updated its COVID-19 Vaccine Factsheet to include important information about these rare cases and on the signs and symptoms of Guillain-Barre syndrome.”   

King said her experiences with the Johnson & Johnson vaccine won't stop her from taking part in future clinical trials.

"First of all, like, you get paid money for being in a lab for, like, two hours, tops," King said. "And, second, like, you feel like you're part of something even greater. I mean, for this one, I felt like I was part of saving the world. Like, I wear this thing like a badge of honor."

King was holding up her vaccine card.

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