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University Hospitals doctor addresses rare COVID-19 vaccine side effects

Given volume of vaccines, unrelated health events will occur
johnson & johnson vaccine medical
Posted at 3:17 PM, Apr 19, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-19 18:06:15-04

CLEVELAND — As of April 19, about 60% of the population nationwide had still not received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. That comes as more than 131 million U.S. residents have received at least one dose.

With a number that high, experts in the medical community are reminding the public that illnesses that occur around or near receiving the vaccine may be unrelated.

Dr. Keith Armitage serves as an infectious disease specialist and medical director at University Hospitals Roe Green Center for Travel Medical & Global Health and continues to closely examine the vaccines and side effects that pop up.

"About a third of people have a 24-hour symptom complex," he said. "Fever and chills and that just reflect their immune system. We’re really not seeing more than that at this point."

The “pause” continues over the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, after six reported cases of a “rare” type of blood clot.

"What’s happening with Johnson & Johnson should reassure people it’s being constantly monitored," Armitage said.

One News 5 viewer recently reported that her husband suffered from Bell’s Palsy, where muscles in the face suddenly become weakened, after receiving a Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

It’s a concern that’s come up more than once over the past several months.

In a Pfizer vaccine trial, which was submitted in December, four people experienced Bell’s Palsy. Those symptoms appeared 3, 9, 37, and 48 days after vaccination.

However, the CDC points out that it has not concluded that those cases were a direct result of being vaccinated.

CDC Website

While certain side effects can dominate social media, Armitage emphasized the need to closely examine if there's any rise in a certain side effect compared to what already occurs in the general population.

"When you’re vaccinating millions of people, there’s going to be some clinical events that are random and unrelated in people that got the vaccine," Armitage said. "The key is to monitor and see if there’s more of these in the vaccine group than in the non-vaccine group."

While some may be worried about potential side effects of the vaccine, experts say those concerns pale in comparison to the potential harm from the coronavirus.

"There's still a lot of reasons to avoid getting COVID-19," Armitage said.