As the US begins to turn a new page since the Pandemic first devastated our country in 2020, many Americans plan to be vaccinated in efforts to return to life as they once imagined. The Biden Administration has placed tremendous support and funding behind vaccines produced by Pfizer, Moderna, and the Johnson & Johnson (J&J). While public health experts, including the CDC, deem all three vaccines safe with varying efficacy levels there is concern about the implications about the recent pause to the production of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
According to the CDC, the “pause” was recommended after some people developed “a rare and severe type of blood clot” two weeks after being vaccinated. Although alarm is expected, the occurrence of these type of blood clots is small (approx. 6 cases) compared to the 6.8 million doses issued. Health experts recommend for those originally signed up to receive the J&J vaccine simply attempt to reschedule to receive either the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine. Although the J&J vaccine which has passed vigorous testing and oversight from the CDC and FDA, the Janessen (Johnson & Johnson) company is expected to meet with regulators this month to ensure that vaccines continue to be safe for distribution. That meeting is open to the public. The meeting will be held by the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices the whose job it is to determine how the J&J vaccine will be used and changes in vaccine supply.
In terms of new production, the producers of the J&J vaccine are dealing with potential quality issues. The FDA further requested that J&J vaccines undergo additional testing and identify any potential sources of contamination. After an inspection of one production facility in Baltimore, the FDA noted several issues that would have to be addressed in order to continue to a supplier of vaccine products during COVID. In a statement released by J & J the roll out of the vaccine has been delayed in both the US and Europe. The statement also included information for those who are concerned about recognition and treatment of the related to that type of rare blood clot.
So where do we go from here? According to a report from CNN, the impact of the J &J pause should be minimal. Nonetheless, for Americans that are already skeptical about being vaccinated under emergency procedures this adds to the list of reasons not to be vaccinated. Health experts continue to stress the importance of putting this incident into context. Specifically, the CNN report points to the fact that the other vaccines by Pfizer and Moderna are designed differently from Johnson and Johnson and are completely safe. As Americans continue to decide whether to vaccinated, health experts hope that vaccine safety concerns won’t thwart the efforts of health experts, the Administration, and the public to move toward a coronavirus-free nation.