The CDC and FDA are meeting to discuss the six blood clotting cases among people who received the Johnson & Johnson Covid-19 vaccine.
The US Food and Drug Administration officially recommended that the US pause the distribution of the J&J vaccine after “six reported US cases of a rare and severe type of blood clot.” The six cases were reported among the near 7 million Americans who already received their single-dose J&J vaccine.
Dr. Anthony Fauci spoke about this pause during a White House briefing in which he attempted to put out the fire of chaos that the media was creating regarding this pause. “This is less than 1 in a million, all six cases were among women between the ages of 18 and 48, and symptoms occurred six to 13 days after vaccination. The recommendation to pause simply comes out of an abundance of caution and these cases appear to be extremely rare.”
“It makes sense now to pause, get a sense for whether this is a real phenomenon, whether it really is associated with the vaccine and who in particular might be at highest risk. I do worry though that the pause may contribute to further hesitancy about the vaccines being administered in the US,” explained Dr. Jonathan Reiner, a professor of medicine and surgery at George Washington University.
“These vaccines are incredibly effective. You’re much more likely to die of the coronavirus than you are to have a significant complication from these vaccines.”
US officials are racing to get as many individuals vaccinated as possible to beat another potential Covid-19 surge that has already begun in multiple states due to the presence of multiple virus variants. Variant cases are especially impacting younger groups of people who have yet to be vaccinated, so it’s important that citizens remember to stay vigilant and continue to follow proper health and safety procedures; even if your state no longer requires them.
“The pause should underscore and confirm how seriously we take safety, even though it’s a very rare event. I have no reason to believe there were many more cases, but the pause will let officials take a look to see. If anyone’s got a doubt that they may not be taking safety very seriously, I think this is an affirmation that safety is a primary consideration when it comes to the FDA and the CDC. That’s why it was done and that’s why it’s a pause. It isn’t a cancellation; it’s a pause,” Fauci explained.
US Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy told the media that “a pause is not unusual, pauses happen often with both vaccines or new drugs on the market to evaluate new developments. Our confidence in these vaccines is still high, we want to just make sure the investigations are done completely.” Fauci added to that point to explain that “generally, clinical trials have anywhere from 30,000 to 40,000 people in it. You’re talking about an adverse event that has occurred in six people out of 6.85 million people who are vaccinated in the United States with the J&J.”
“The US has enough vaccine supply to be able to vaccinate its adult population, and I am confident that even with the pause of the J&J vaccine we will be able to effectively vaccinate America by the end of July.”
Most state officials have claimed that the pause on the J&J supply is luckily not hindering the rate in which they’re able to get their residents vaccinated due to an excess in supply of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines. Ohio Governor Mike DeWine claimed that “a total of eight sites will not offer any vaccines this week as the health community works to recognize, report, and manage any adverse events related to the Johnson and Johnson vaccine,” however, this isn’t a common occurrence.
According to one Ohio state official: “Nationwide, the interruption of the J&J vaccine could have a significant impact on college students, who were key targets for the shot before leaving school at the end of the spring semester. There isn’t enough time to give two shots before many students leave for the summer. This is a far bigger deal than the White House will acknowledge.”
With this pause, however, Pfizer has boosted its production of its vaccine and “can deliver 10% more doses to the US by the end of May than previously agreed,” according to Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla. This means the company will deliver a total of 220 million doses by the end of next month, for reference Pfizer claimed their initial goal was to get the US 300 million doses by the end of July.
The US has also purchased 300 million doses from Moderna, which is also on track to finish by the end of July. Moderna announced that its vaccine remains more than 90% effective for at least six months and Pfizer cited that their vaccine also has a high level of protection for at least six months as well.
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