Here’s what we know about Guillain-Barré syndrome and vaccines.

Johnson & Johnson’s beleaguered Covid-19 vaccine may be associated with a small increased risk of Guillain-Barré syndrome, a rare but potentially serious neurological condition, federal officials said on Monday. The Food and Drug Administration has added a warning about the potential side effect to its fact sheets about the vaccine.

The risk appears to be very small. So far, there have been 100 reports of the syndrome in the nearly 13 million people who have received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine in the United States.

Here are answers to some common questions about the syndrome and its connection to vaccination.

What is Guillain-Barré syndrome?

Guillain-Barré is a rare condition in which the body’s immune system attacks nerve cells. It can cause muscle weakness and paralysis. Although the symptoms often pass within weeks, in some cases, the condition can cause permanent nerve damage. In the United States, there are typically 3,000 to 6,000 cases of the syndrome per year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It is most common in adults over 50.

The cause of the syndrome is unknown. It has also been reported in people with Covid-19.

What does it have to do with vaccination?

This is not the first vaccine that has been linked to Guillain-Barré, although the risk appears to be tiny. A large swine flu vaccination campaign in 1976 led to a small uptick; the vaccine caused roughly one extra case of Guillain-Barré for every 100,000 people vaccinated. The seasonal flu shot is associated with roughly one to two additional cases for every million vaccines administered.

The shingles vaccine Shingrix may also increase the risk of the condition.

What do we know about its connection to the Covid-19 vaccines?

Of the 100 reports of the syndrome after vaccination, 95 cases resulted in hospitalization, and one was fatal.

The syndrome was generally reported about two weeks after vaccination, primarily in men, many of whom were 50 or older, officials said. There is not yet enough evidence to establish that the vaccine causes the condition, but the F.D.A. will continue to monitor the situation.

There is not yet any data to suggest a link between the condition and Covid-19 vaccines made by Pfizer-BioNTech or by Moderna, both of which rely upon a different technology.

What signs and symptoms should I look out for?

The syndrome is most likely to appear within 42 days of vaccination, the F.D.A. says. You should consult with a doctor if you begin to experience weakness or tingling in your arms and legs, double vision or difficulty walking, speaking, chewing, swallowing or controlling your bladder or bowels.

Should I still get a Covid-19 vaccine?

If the link between the vaccine and Guillain-Barré is real, it appears to be far outweighed by the risks of Covid-19, experts said. In the United States, almost all hospitalizations and deaths from Covid-19 are happening in those who are unvaccinated, the C.D.C. said in a statement. The agency recommends that everyone who is 12 or older be vaccinated.

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