The Controversy Surrounding the Johnson & Johnson Vaccine

Kayla Bullock

Staff Writer

In recent times, we ponder about which COVID-19 vaccine to get. Do I want to receive Pfizer, Moderna or Johnson & Johnson? It seems most wanted to get anything after the restrictions to our lives due to the pandemic. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), community transmission of COVID-19 was first detected in the United States in February 2020. By mid-March, all 50 states had reported cases of COVID-19. Many states were required to shut down to reduce the spread of the virus, but that did not stop constant surges. We all wondered when the pandemic would end. When would the CDC announce a vaccine? When would we see the light at the end of the tunnel? 

Pfizer and its collaborator BioNTech announced their COVID study results on November 9, 2020. The results showed that the vaccine had 90-95 percent effectiveness. They received authorization on December 11, 2020, for emergency use. Moderna announced authorization by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on December 18, 2020. Lastly, Johnson & Johnson received an authorization on February 27, 2020, with a 66.3 percent effectiveness. Different states vary, but anyone ages 16 and up may receive the COVID vaccine. 

With a 66.3 percent effectiveness, Johnson & Johnson is in the midst of controversy. Johnson & Johnson- owned by Janssen Pharmaceuticals, became the third company to make their vaccine available in the United States. With only one dose need instead of two, J&J seems like a convenient vaccine. This has not been the case. Several horror stories of the side effects of the J&J vaccine have surfaced on the internet. On Tuesday, April 13, 2021, the FDA and CDC called for a pause in the use of the J&J vaccine. Six people received a rare and severe case of blood clots after receiving the J&J vaccine. 

The FDA and CDC are currently reviewing those reports. All six cases occurred in the United States among women between the ages of 18 and 48. Symptoms developed 13 days after vaccination, according to a statement released by the FDA and CDC. Unfortunately, one recipient died and another is in critical condition. 

While six cases are currently under investigation, there are a plethora of stories on the internet. A TikTok user, whose video was removed and reuploaded by a user under the name of ‘leadershiftlaunchpad’, explained her symptoms after receiving the J&J vaccine. In the video, she states her symptoms started with “chest pain and paralysis on her left side.” 

The woman in the video was rushed to the hospital where she suffered from eight seizures in two days. She never had a seizure before. Unfortunately, her story is told on Tiktok and not under an investigation like the six women who suffered from rare blood clots. 

Several states have shut down J&J vaccine sites after adverse reactions. On April 10, 2021, Georgia became the third state to shut down its J&J vaccine site after eight people suffered adverse reactions from the shot. People all over the nation are suffering from symptoms that are concerning. 

Earlier last week, 18 people in North Carolina reported side effects. How normal is normal? At what point should a vaccine recipient contact their doctor. According to the CDC, you should contact your doctor if you are experiencing symptoms after three weeks. 

I think it is important to do your research on each vaccine. Healthcare professionals and scientists recommend that you do not compare the vaccines to each other. I am no healthcare professional but I believe if you have any prior health issues, you should consult with your doctor about receiving the vaccine. I am ecstatic that we reached a conclusion, but we cannot ignore the people suffering from the J&J vaccine. 

Categories: Opinions

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