A new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention showed that anxiety is to blame for a number of side effects from the Johnson & Johnson vaccine rather than the shot itself.
From April 7 to 9, the CDC received reports of “clusters of anxiety-related events” after patients received J&J vaccine, including hyperventilation, low blood pressure, headache, difficulty breathing, blond hair, nausea and fainting, among other things, at five mass vaccination sites.
At four of these sites, administrators temporarily suspended the provision of coronavirus vaccines due to the high relative frequency of patients fainting ̵
After conducting interviews with the 64 patients (out of 8,624) who showed these symptoms, the CDC concluded that none of the cases met their definition of serious adverse events, and the majority were resolved within 15 minutes. The researchers attributed the symptoms to anxiety rather than any discrepancies between J&J vaccine and its Pfizer and Modern counterparts.
In fact, the biggest difference between Johnson & Johnson – also known as the Janssen vaccine – and the other vaccines is that it requires only one dose, which the CDC hypothesis could be the source of increased anxiety around it.
“Because the Janssen COVID-19 vaccine is administered as a single dose, this vaccine may be a more attractive option for individuals with needle aversion,” the report said. “It is therefore possible that some individuals seeking Janssen COVID-19 vaccination may be more prone to anxiety-related events after being vaccinated.”
Fainting events were mostly highly concentrated among the youngest qualified group – those aged 18 to 29. The report showed that this could be expected, given that adolescents have the highest levels of dizziness and fainting after other vaccines.
CDC-recommended vaccine administrators observe patients for at least 15 minutes after injection to monitor them for anxiety-related effects.
The side effects described in the study are not related to the 17 cases of patients who develop blood clots, which led to a nationwide break in J&J use of the vaccine in mid-April. The CDC found these cases very rare and lifted along with the FDA break after 10 days. The vaccine now contains a warning to women under 50 about the risk of developing a blood clot.
The bite restricts travel from India as the coronavirus rises
The U.S. vaccination campaign recently hit a milestone as over 100 million people are fully vaccinated, representing a near-doubling since the end of March. And while the number of cases is falling in the United States, with the daily average at the lowest number since mid-October, global virus cases reached a new high last week, according to the New York Times.
A large portion of the wave is being driven by another wave in India, which now accounts for over 40 percent of the world’s new cases, according to the Times. As Jen Kirby and Umair Irfam reported for Vox, Indian hospitals are in desperate need of oxygen, ventilators, beds and vaccines, with less than 2 percent of the country fully vaccinated.
The Biden administration has promised to send supplies, including raw materials for vaccine production, although some experts have called for derogations from intellectual property rules for coronavirus vaccines so that India, a global production leader, can catch up. The administration is considering this option, but in the meantime, the United States will impose restrictions on travel from India beginning Tuesday.
In a statement to CNN, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said the number of major cases in India as well as potential new variants governed the creation of the policy. Foreign nationals who have been in India for the past 14 days will be granted temporary access to enter the United States. The rule does not apply to U.S. citizens, permanent residents and humanitarian workers.