Dozens of people who got the COVID vaccine from Johnson & Johnson in early April, at five mass-vaccination sites in five states, reported fainting, breaking out into a sweat, dizziness, nausea, and lightheadedness afterward, among other side effects. The incidents, which took place between April 7 and April 9, led to a temporary shutdown of four of the sites as health officials investigated. Now, the Hill reports that the CDC has revealed what was behind those clusters of adverse reactions: patient anxiety. In a Friday report, the agency noted that, of 8,624 J&J vaccine recipients, 64 of them suffered an "anxiety-related event" after getting their jab.
The CDC says such reactions can occur "after any vaccination," and that these reports came in prior to those related to blood clots in a tiny number of J&J patients—an entirely different issue. So why were these clusters noted in Johnson and Johnson vaccine recipients? CDC researchers posit that, because the J&J vaccine consists of just one dose—unlike the double shot required by Moderna and Pfizer—people who are more afraid of needles may have opted for J&J's vaccine over the others, and so were more anxiety-prone when it came time to see that needle. The agency calls on vaccine providers to be cognizant of such anxiety and corresponding reactions after administering the vaccine, and to keep an eye on patients for at least 15 minutes after they get their shot. (Read more coronavirus vaccine stories.)