By Jess Taylor
After some recipients of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine reported blood clots, the CDC and FDA paused the administration of this brand’s vaccine while health officials investigate this side effect.
The federal government highly prioritizes COVID-19 vaccine safety, where reports of health problems after vaccine administration are taken very seriously.
Six women between the ages of 18 and 45 have reported a rare and severe blood clot six to 13 days after receiving the Johnson & Johnson vaccination. In response, the CDC and FDA recommend the country pause its use of the vaccine until they can conduct further investigation of what specifically caused the blood clots in the six women.
Of the six women reporting these blood clots, one woman in Virginia died from it while another in Nebraska is in critical condition.
Roughly seven million Americans have had the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, while ten million doses have been shipped around the states.
“We are recommending a pause in the use of this vaccine out of an abundance of caution,” stated Dr. Peter Marks, director of the FDA for Biologics Evaluation and Research. Joining Dr. Marks was Dr. Anne Schuchat, the principal deputy director of the CDC, who said, “Right now, these adverse events appear to be extremely rare.”
In fact, the blood clots are so rare that the percentage of the disorder is at 0.000086 percent chance of occurring according to the current data of the vaccine recipients.
All states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico have paused the vaccine administration.
Scientists with the FDA and CDC will jointly examine possible links between the vaccine and blood clots to determine if the vaccine should continue to be administered.
An issue behind pausing the vaccine is that it can cause speculation over the legitimacy of COVID-19 vaccines. Millions of Americans have feared the vaccines over the belief it was created too quickly to be safe and effective along with a plethora of different worries.
In December of 2020, the KFF (Kaiser Family Foundation) conducted a poll showing that 39 percent of Americans wanted to wait and see how the vaccine worked before receiving it for themselves. In January of this year, almost half of American adults said they would not be getting the vaccine.
Monmouth University conducted a poll in March, finding that statistics had decreased to 25 percent of Americans claiming they will not receive the vaccine; evidence of the vaccine’s efficiency eased many of the American publics’ concerns.
Health officials, such as Dr. Anthony Fauci, Dr. Rochelle Walensky, Dr. David Kessler and the CDC director, are encouraging Americans to continue to get vaccinated. The decision to pause the Johnson & Johnson vaccine was made to ensure the safety of any American receiving the vaccine.
“We are totally aware that this is a rare event. We want to get this worked out as quickly as we possibly can and that’s why you see the word ‘pause,’ in other words, you want to hold off for a bit,” stated Dr. Fauci. “We want to leave that up to the FDA and the CDC to investigate this carefully. I don’t think it was pulling the trigger too quickly.”
Fauci says the investigation is expected to last days to a few weeks. This allows the FDA and CDC to thoroughly investigate any ties the women have in common before receiving the vaccine.
Moreover, President Biden says this will not alter his plan to have 200 million vaccines administered by his 100th day in office. Pfizer and Moderna vaccines alone can accomplish this goal. The Johnson & Johnson vaccine makes up less than five percent of the vaccines administered nationwide.
The second emergency meeting of the Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine will be held on April 23. The committee will reevaluate and discuss the next steps of how to proceed with the vaccine and determine if its administration will negatively impact the health of Americans receiving it.
Jess Taylor is in her senior year at UC Davis from a small town called Wheatland. She is finishing her studies in English and Human Rights.