RALEIGH, N.C. — After reports of some people having adverse reactions to the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine at vaccination clinics in North Carolina, the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS) announced Thursday it has worked with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Wake County Public Health Department to investigate.
The incidents happened at PNC Arena in Raleigh and two other clinics run by UNC Health.
According to NCDHHS, the CDC's analysis did not find any safety issues or reason for concern, and the agency recommends continuing to administer the vaccine.
Of more than 2,300 people who received the vaccine at the PNC Arena clinic, NCDHHS says 18 experienced symptoms like nausea, dizziness, fainting and one allergic reaction. Four were taken to local hospitals for observation, and all but one have been released.
The CDC is aware of several incidents of vaccine recipients experiencing dizziness, feeling lightheaded, feeling faint (vasovagal), rapid breathing and sweating following COVID-19 vaccines in Iowa, Colorado, Georgia and North Carolina.
Health officials say people may experience temporary reactions after receiving a COVID-19 vaccine such as a sore arm, headache or feeling tired and achy for a day or two and in some cases, fever. In most cases, these temporary reactions are normal and are good signs that the body is building protection. Additionally, some people experience lightheadedness, nausea or fainting (symptoms of vasovagal syncope) after a vaccination.
The CDC recommends the following prevention measures:
- Have a beverage or snack before getting your vaccine
- Sit or lie down after you receive your vaccine
- Breathe slowly and deeply before getting the vaccine and think of something relaxing
COVID-19 vaccines are tested, safe and effective. Close to 175 million COVID-19 vaccine doses have been administered in the United States.
The three COVID-19 vaccines authorized by the federal Food and Drug Administration are proven to help prevent COVID-19 and are effective in preventing hospitalizations and death. You cannot get COVID-19 from the vaccine, and there were no serious safety concerns found in clinical trials.
The CDC has created a smartphone-based tool called V-safe that checks in on people after their COVID-19 vaccination. After enrolling, users receive regular text messages directing them to surveys where to report any problems or adverse reactions. V-safe allows people to quickly tell CDC if they have any side effects after getting a COVID-19 vaccine. Depending on the answers to the web surveys, someone from CDC may call to check on the person and get more information.
In addition, anyone experiencing possible side effects (called adverse events) should report them to the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS). This national system collects data to look for adverse events that are unexpected, appear to happen more often than expected or have unusual patterns of occurrence.