Alabama health official speaks on autoimmune disorder side effect on some Johnson & Johnson vaccine users

Alabama

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – Johnson & Johnson has found themselves in the spotlight again for their COVID-19 vaccine. Firstly, for blood clots, leading to a temporary halt in the vaccine’s use in Alabama back in April. Now, a new warning.

The warning from the FDA now accompanies J&J’s vaccine, stating there could be an increased risk for an autoimmune disorder called Guillain-Barre after about 100 people developed the syndrome.

Dr. Karen Landers with the Alabama Department of Public Health says that number is minute compared to the number of vaccines administered.

“Keep in mind that over 12 million doses of this vaccine have been given. Certainly, we want to continue to monitor, but we see that this is extremely rare,” she said. “If we look at the vaccines, and also look at the conditions that can be caused by COVID, keep in mind COVID can have neurologic effects, COVID disease can have neurologic effects.”

Because of the high risk such as that, Landers suggests to anyone who is nervous to get the vaccine, get Pfizer or Moderna instead.

As Alabama’s numbers continue to rise, hospitalization rates have jumped from a low of 179 in June to 341 cases as of this Wednesday.

“We absolutely must look at where we are in the state of Alabama right now. We’ve had a 7.7percent positivity of tests, we’ve had a 39% increase in cases in the last two weeks,” Dr. Landers said.

As a new school year approaches and the state’s only having about 33% of our population vaccinated; the lowest in the country, Landers says those ages 12 and up should consider getting vaccinated to protect themselves and others, especially against highly contagious variants.

The ADPH has even done outreach for the younger group, announcing the sponsorship of a TikTok contest for those ages 13 to 29 in an effort to encourage vaccinations.

“Every time someone is infected, it’s an opportunity for the virus to mutate so my plea is for persons to please get vaccinated. If you’re age 12 and above please get vaccinated against this deadly virus,” Dr. Landers said.

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