J&J’s obstacle course to immunity


Guess who has been jabbed by the Johnson & Johnson death ray vaccine?

That’s right, yours truly, back on April 9. I had no problem going with the less “flashy” vaccine, the single-shot no-frills jab that lacked the bells and whistles of its snooty cousins from Moderna and Pfizer. One shot sealed the deal for me plus I wasn’t so fond of getting injected with RNA housed in artificial lipids; something struck me as weird about that.

Within a few days, news columns began to fill with impending blood clot doom and the Johnson & Johnson vaccine was paused for a bit until they could get their story straight. It’s ok, I was a bit put off, but such is the price to pay for going “simple” when it comes to injecting complex genetic hacking material into your body. Johnson & Johnson had no hope in the PR arena that was lorded over by the slick offerings of its distant mRNA cousins. Moderna, and especially Pfizer, inherited curious cred immediately and they were lauded by the media, vaccine tyrants and all other extreme fear mongers of the COVID variety.

Just a week previously, I posted an article here called “The Johnson & Johnson vaccine is ghetto.” I sympathized with J&J’s less glamorous contribution and its cut-rate image.

All this points toward the obvious, but unutterable: Johnson & Johnson’s less tedious robustness and less neurotic administration is suited to serving a population less finicky and unpleased, ie, ghetto, baby!

J&J got back on its feet, gingerly, and it’s been humming along until the latest obstacle: Guillain-Barré syndrome.

This poor vaccine cannot win.

The Johnson & Johnson coronavirus vaccine has been linked to an extremely rare neurological disorder, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Of the more than 12 million vaccine doses administered in the U.S., there have been around 100 reports of people developing Guillain-Barré syndrome.

In light of the newly documented risk, the Food and Drug Administration has updated the label of the vaccine to include a new warning: “Guillain-Barré Syndrome Reports of adverse events following use of the Janssen COVID-19 Vaccine under emergency use authorization suggest an increased risk of Guillain-Barré syndrome during the 42 days following vaccination.”

Guillain-Barré syndrome is certainly not unheard of in the world of vaccine side effects (it was famously tied to the Swine Flu vaccine decades ago)  but now Johnson & Johnson is the first to fall prey and the bad publicity continues piling up. Meanwhile Moderna and Pfizer chug along confidently, the entitled stars that can do no wrong.

It must be great to ride the coattails of a well-planned PR campaign that was begun over a year ago.

Don’t fool yourself: mRNA vaccines are a young technology and COVID-19 is making them age very quickly.


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