Guillain Barre Survivor Advocate for COVID Vaccine

Josef Schreick, a part time Palm Desert resident says he survived Guillain Barre in 2007 after a Gardasil vaccine but still opted to get the COVID vaccine. He says it’s upsetting seeing the rumors and misinformation being spread about the vaccine that protect against COVID-19 in the wake of the FDA announcing it was investigating the Johnson and Johnson vaccine after one person died and 100 people reported getting the neurological syndrome.

Schreick says it’s important to make informed choices and protect yourself from a potentially deadly virus. He’s thankful he got the Pfizer vaccine weeks ago and says if people are hesitant about this one there’s other choices.

The FDA says these cases are out of 12.5 million doses of the Janssen commonly known as the one dose Johnson and Johnson COVID-19 vaccine were administered. The FDA says they have not linked the syndrome to the vaccine and these are self reported cases on the VAERS site, still they decided to add the warning on the label of the vaccine. The FDA says despite the rare reports for the Janssen COVID-19 vaccine they continue to find “the known and potential benefits clearly outweigh the known and potential risks.”

The CDC also temporarily halted the Janssen vaccine after reports of blood clots. 

Dr. Peter Chin-Hong an infectious disease professor at UC San Francisco says the reason the FDA did this is because transparency matters because it builds trust and cannot withhold any information about any adverse effects.

The FDA says 3,000 to 6,000 people get Guillain Barre every year, regardless of any vaccine.

Dr. Peter Chin-Hong says this syndrome can be caused by a variety of reasons and happens, “Like the shingles vaccine, like influenza we see it when you get a regular infection some of the infections like the virus that causes mono can lead to this sometimes but it’s not something new but I think of course everyone is on guard about anything associated with the COVID vaccines.”

He says the risk of COVID far outweighs the chance getting Guillain Barre, “If you think about the risk of dying in a plane crash, it’s one in a million,” adding unvaccinated people now make up 99 percent of the COVID cases, hospitalizations and deaths, “these are outcomes we see in the hospital all the time and I wouldn’t wish it on anyone.”

Josef hopes by sharing his story people do their own research, talk to their doctors, explore all options and stop spreading rumors, “Why people do this to scare individuals when it’s such a critical, critical thing right now.”

It’s important to speak with your doctor about the vaccine and risks.

For more information on Guillain Barre click here: Guillain Barre 

We reached out to Janssen the pharmaceutical company that makes the Johnson and Johnson COVID vaccine they sent NBC Palm Springs this statement:


The safety and well-being of the people who use our products is our number one priority.

 Rare cases of the neurological disorder, Guillain-Barré syndrome have been reported following vaccination with the Janssen COVID-19 vaccine. Most occurred within 42 days after vaccination. While the chance of having this occur is very low, Johnson & Johnson has updated its COVID-19 Vaccine Factsheet to include important information about these rare cases and on the signs and symptoms of Guillain-Barré syndrome. Updates with this new information will be implemented in other regions of the world according to local regulatory procedures.

 Any adverse event report about individuals receiving Johnson & Johnson’s single-shot COVID-19 vaccine, as well as our own assessment of the report, is shared with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the European Medicines Agency, the World Health Organization and other health authorities around the world where our vaccine is authorized. We strongly support raising awareness of the signs and symptoms of rare events to ensure they can be quickly identified and effectively treated.

 Evidence has demonstrated that Johnson & Johnson’s single-shot COVID-19 vaccine offers protection against COVID-19 disease and prevents hospitalization and death, including in countries where viral variants are highly prevalent. A single-shot vaccine that provides this level of protection represents an important tool in the global fight against COVID-19, as we strive to help end this deadly pandemic.


For further information on the safety of authorized COVID-19 vaccines, please visit:


Here’s part of the FDA update on Guillain Barre

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration today announced the following actions taken in its ongoing response effort to the COVID-19 pandemic:

  • Today, the FDA is announcing revisions to the vaccine recipient and vaccination provider fact sheets for the Johnson & Johnson (Janssen) COVID-19 Vaccine to include information pertaining to an observed increased risk of Guillain-Barré Syndrome (GBS) following vaccination. GBS is a neurological disorder in which the body’s immune system damages nerve cells, causing muscle weakness, or in the most severe cases, paralysis. Based on an analysis of Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting (VAERS) data, there have been 100 preliminary reports of GBS following vaccination with the Janssen vaccine after approximately 12.5 million doses administered. Of these reports, 95 of them were serious and required hospitalization. There was one reported death. Each year in the United States, an estimated 3,000 to 6,000 people develop GBS. Most people fully recover from the disorder. GBS has also been observed at an increased rate associated with certain vaccines, including certain seasonal influenza vaccines and a vaccine to prevent shingles.  Although the available evidence suggests an association between the Janssen vaccine and increased risk of GBS, it is insufficient to establish a causal relationship. No similar signal has been identified with the Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccines. FDA continues to work with its partner in vaccine safety surveillance, the CDC, to monitor reports of GBS following vaccination with the Janssen COVID-19 Vaccine. Importantly, the FDA has evaluated the available information for the Janssen COVID-19 Vaccine and continues to find the known and potential benefits clearly outweigh the known and potential risks.

For more info click her: FDA

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