Covid vaccine side effects: Man says ‘stinging’ skin started to peel off after the jab

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The Virginia man had the Johnson & Johnson Covid vaccine in March (around 30 million doses have been ordered for the UK). Within days of having the jab, Richard says he started experiencing an itchy rash that turned red and swollen. “I began to feel a little discomfort in my armpit and then a few days later I began to get an itchy rash,” he told Virginia news station WRIC. Afterwards, his skin “began to swell” and “turned red”, spreading across his entire body.

“It all just happened so fast. My skin peeled off,” Richard explained. “It was stinging, burning, and itching.

“Whenever I bent my arms or legs, like the inside of my knee, it was very painful where the skin was swollen and was rubbing against itself.”

Richard spent five days in hospital, where the medics diagnosed him with a rare reaction to the Johnson & Johnson Covid vaccine.

Dr Fnu Nutan, a dermatologist at Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) Medical Center in Richmond – where Richard was treated – commented on the incident.

“We ruled out all the viral infections, we ruled out COVID-19 itself, we made sure that his kidneys and liver was okay, and finally we came to the conclusion that it was the vaccine that he had received that was the cause.”

Dr Nutan added: “Skin is the largest organ in the body, and when it gets inflamed like his was, you can lose a lot of fluids and electrolytes.”

It’s not clear whether Richard had any allergies that might have contributed to his reaction.

The doctors suspected that he does have some rare genetic traits that interacted with the ingredients in the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

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“If you look at the risk for adverse reaction for the vaccine, it’s really, really low,” said Dr Nutan.

“We haven’t seen a great concern at all. I am a big proponent of the vaccine.”

Even Richard – who had the rare and adverse reaction – doesn’t regret having the vaccine.

Rather, he encouraged everybody eligible to get their jab to help end the pandemic.

Johnson & Johnson shared “important safety information” regarding their Covid vaccine.

When the jab reaches the UK (if it’s approved by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency, MHRA), Johnson & Johnson urges the public to tell the vaccinator if any of the following applies:

  • You have any allergies
  • You have a fever
  • You have a bleeding disorder or are on a blood thinner
  • You are immunocompromised or are on a medicine that affects your immune system
  • You are pregnant or plan to become pregnant
  • You are breastfeeding
  • You have received another COVID-19 vaccine

Common side effects of the jab include:

  • Pain at the injection site
  • Redness of the skin
  • Swelling
  • Headache
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle aches
  • Nausea
  • Fever

“There is a remote chance that the COVID-19 Vaccine could cause a severe allergic reaction,” said Johnson & Johnson.

Such a reaction usually occurs “within a few minutes to one hour” after having the vaccine.

Signs of an adverse reaction include:

  • Difficulty breathing
  • Swelling of your face and throat
  • A fast heartbeat
  • A bad rash all over your body
  • Dizziness and weakness

Anyone experiencing a severe allergic reaction is urged to “go to the nearest hospital”.

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