FDA labels Johnson & Johnson vaccine with new rare side effect

rare side effect, Guillain-Barré,
© Uladzimir Zuyeu

The FDA have labelled the Johnson & Johnson COVID vaccine as a possible cause of Guillain-Barré syndrome – an extremely rare side effect that can potentially cause nerve damage

Currently, there have been incidents of Guillain-Barré syndrome in 0.0008% of those vaccinated with Johnson & Johnson in the US. That works out at about 100 cases in 13 million people who took the vaccine, making this side effect extremely rare.

On 12 July, the US FDA added this note to the side effects section of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine: “Severe allergic reactions (including anaphylaxis), thrombosis with thrombocytopenia, Guillain-Barré syndrome, and capillary leak syndrome have been reported following administration of the Janssen COVID-19 Vaccine during mass vaccination outside of clinical trials.”

What is Guillain-Barré syndrome?

According to the NHS website: “The syndrome mainly affects the feet, hands and limbs, causing problems such as numbness, weakness and pain. It can be treated and most people will eventually make a full recovery, although it can occasionally be life-threatening and some people are left with long-term problems.”

Guillain-Barré syndrome is normally more common in adults and males, but the reports are coming from

What are the symptoms?

  • Numbness
  • Pins and needles
  • Muscle weakness
  • Pain
  • Problems with balance and co-ordination
  • Difficulty walking
  • Difficulty with facial movements, including speaking, chewing, or swallowing
  • Double vision or inability to move eyes
  • Difficulty with bladder control or bowel function.

If you experience any of the above symptoms, please seek medical attention. The FDA state that these effects could appear within the first 42 days of vaccination.

How could the vaccine cause Guillain-Barré syndrome?

The NHS, national health service in the UK, further explains that the syndrome has always been connected to vaccinations – long before the global pandemic. In 1976, a swine flu outbreak led to a vaccine that brought a small, increased risk of Guillain-Barré syndrome.

According to one study conducted over the 2009 swine flu outbreak, there were just two extra cases of the syndrome for every one million people vaccinated. The risk, both in the past and present, remains statistically extremely low.

The mRNA vaccines, like Moderna and Pfizer, are not impacted by this side effect – they use a different kind of biological mechanism to fight COVID-19.


  1. What if someone has mistakenly taking more than one Johnson vaccines, is he going to have problems or he should see a doctor?

  2. I took the first Johnson vaccine with no problems. Then I took the second Johnson for my booster. Life has not been the same. First of all, I was sick for a week with symptoms that felt like a weak flu in addition to a migraine. When those symptoms were finished, I started getting muscle aches….first in my right thigh; a few days later in my left thigh. At the same time, one of my feet having the muscles on top be sore every night. It especially hurt when I walked. That symptom is still here, while the legs have been fine. But now I have tingles (pins and needles) in my hands and arms. Where the tingles come, changes all the time. There is no hand position that predictably starts them. They come more often in the right arm than in the left. In addition, four years ago, my car was hit by a semi truck and afterwards I would have a buzzing in my head..not regular tinnitus which since I’m allergic to Naprosyn I get if I take that….and so don’t. But this is not like the buzzing after the accident — it’s the far more obnoxious classic loud tinnitus that Naprosyn triggers in me.
    I’m so upset that social media won’t let anyone ask questions of others or describe their own experiences. With such new drugs, that type of collaboration and open communication is how the entire medical community and patients learns. AND LEARNING about COVID and how it reacts differently in different people, as well as with the different vaccines, is what makes the difference between a doctor who starts to see patterns and one who won’t. The detective doctor who learns about patterns is far more helpful for all of us. In Europe , people openly discuss the vaccines and COVID on line. In Europe the major medical sites (like Cleveland Clinic or Mayos), permit people to respond in writing to the doctors’ written commentary on COVID or the Vaccines. I couldn’t find one major medical site in the US where patients were allowed to even write a comment or describe their own experiences. This was quite scary for me because it’s the difference between freedom and bondage. It’s also the difference between a community/country where knowledge is gained and one where it is not.


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