New research from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows that fainting has been reported among individuals given the Johnson & Johnson coronavirus vaccine.
The report — which links anxiety over the vaccine to fainting — found that only 3 percent of the 653 reported fainting spells documented were serious.
In early April, “CDC received reports of clusters of anxiety-related events after administration of Janssen COVID-19 vaccine from five mass vaccination sites, all in different states,” the federal agency noted.
Janssen is the division of Johnson & Johnson that produced the vaccine. The J&J vaccine is the first largely distributed one-dose vaccine, unlike the Moderna and Pfizer ones, which require two doses.
“Four of the five sites temporarily closed while an investigation took place. Overall, 64 anxiety-related events, including 17 reports of syncope (fainting), an anxiety-related event, among 8,624 Janssen COVID-19 vaccine recipients, were reported from these sites for vaccines administered during April 7-9,” the CDC reported.
The agency also reviewed data from the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System and found that fainting took place at a rate of 8.2 episodes per 100,000 doses. The rate for fainting after the flu vaccine was 0.05 episodes per 100,000 doses.
According to the CDC’s own findings, fainting after the J&J vaccination was 164 times more common than after receiving the flu shot.
In spite of that, the CDC focused on anxiety as the cause of fainting, and not the vaccine itself. Light-headedness or dizziness occurred in 56 percent of the cases the CDC studied.
The CDC said women made up 61 percent of the reported cases. Individuals in the 18-29 age group were most likely to faint, according to the report.
Thirteen people were transported to the hospital after fainting, however, the CDC was only able to determine the outcome of five of those patients. All were released the same day they were treated.
The CDC additionally noted that its findings might be skewed, due to about 25 percent of those impacted having had similar problems with other vaccines.
“Because the Janssen COVID-19 vaccine is administered as a single dose, this vaccine might be a more attractive option for persons who have needle aversion,” the report noted. “Therefore, it is possible that some persons seeking Janssen COVID-19 vaccination could be more highly predisposed to anxiety-related events after being vaccinated.
“The stress of an ongoing pandemic might also increase anxiety surrounding COVID-19 vaccination. In addition, in mass vaccination situations, an anxiety-related event witnessed by others on-site or reported through media coverage might provoke additional anxiety-induced episodes.”
A report from WOSU-FM suggested that there might be another cause.
The outlet stated that about two dozen Ohio State and other college students at an early April vaccination event fainted after getting the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
But Dr. Jim Allen of the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center said he does not blame the vaccine.
“I don’t think it’s the J&J,” Allen said. “I think it’s who’s getting the J&J.”
“Mostly younger people, mostly students who were having faints after they would get their vaccine,” Allen said. “And I talked to every single one of them and the common thread was ‘I didn’t eat breakfast’ and ‘I didn’t have anything to drink before I came over here.'”
“We always have a physician trained in advance cardiac support at all of our vaccine clinics and by far and away the most common thing I was prescribing on Saturday was bottles of water and cookies,” Allen said.
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