The decision on whether to continue using the Johnson & Johnson Covid-19 vaccine should come this Friday, when a meeting of the expert commission that advises the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is scheduled, according to Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, the nation’s leading expert on infectious diseases.
“I think we will have a decision by then,” said Dr. Fauci on Sunday in CNN’s “State of the Union” program.
“I don’t want to go ahead of the CDC and the FDA and the advisory board,” he added, but said he expects experts to recommend “some kind of warning or restriction” for the use of the vaccine.
Federal health agencies recommended that vaccine injections be paused on Tuesday as they investigated whether it was linked to a rare blood clotting disorder. All 50 states, Washington, DC and Puerto Rico have stopped giving the vaccine.
An unusual disorder involves blood clots in the brain combined with low levels of platelets, blood cells that usually promote clotting. The combination, which can cause clotting and bleeding at the same time, was originally reported in six women aged 18 to 48 who received the vaccine one to three weeks ago. One of the women died and the other was hospitalized in critical condition.
This pattern raised questions about whether vaccinations could be continued in men or in the elderly. But given that women fill most of the health jobs where vaccination is a priority, it is not clear how much the problem could affect men as well. Two more cases of coagulation disorders were identified on Wednesday, including one in a man who received the vaccine in a clinical trial.
Of the 131.2 million people who received at least one dose of Covid-19 in the United States, more than seven million received Johnson & Johnson’s. If there is a link between vaccines and clotting disorders, the risk remains extremely low, experts say.
“It’s an extremely rare event,” said Dr. Fauci in the ABC “This Week” program. The break was aimed at giving experts time to gather more information and alert doctors to coagulation disorder so they can make more informed treatment decisions, said Dr. Fauci who appeared in four TV news on Sunday morning.
European regulators are investigating similar cases of an unusual clotting disorder in people who have received the AstraZeneca vaccine. Some European countries have since stopped using the vaccine, while others have restricted its use in younger people.
Dr. Fauci also expressed frustration that “a disturbingly large number of Republicans”, who criticized many of the restrictions on the coronavirus, were reluctant to get vaccinated. “It’s almost paradoxical,” he said. “On the one hand, they want to be free of restrictions, but on the other hand, they do not want to be vaccinated. It just makes almost no sense. “
- On April 13, 2021, U.S. health agencies called for an immediate break in the use of Johnson & Johnson’s single-dose Covid-19 vaccine after six recipients in the United States developed a rare disorder involving blood clots within one to three weeks after vaccination.
- All 50 countries, Washington, DC and Puerto Rico suspended or recommended suppliers to pause vaccine use. The U.S. military, federal vaccination sites and a host of private companies, including CVS, Walgreens, Rite Aid, Walmart and Publix, have also paused injections.
- Less than one in a million vaccinations against Johnson and Johnson are now under investigation. If there is indeed a risk of blood clots from the vaccine – which has yet to be determined – that risk is extremely low. The risk of getting Covid-19 in the United States is far higher.
- A break could complicate nations in vaccinating the nation at a time when many states are facing an increase in new cases and trying to address vaccine fluctuations.
- Johnson & Johnson have also decided to delay the introduction of their vaccine in Europe amid concerns over rare blood clots, dealing another blow to European pressure on vaccination. South Africa, destroyed by a more contagious variant of the virus that appeared there, has also stopped using the vaccine. Australia has announced that it will not buy any doses.
The New York Times studied vaccine research and application data for nearly every U.S. county and found that both vaccine readiness and actual vaccination rates are on average lower in countries where a majority of residents voted to re-elect the former president. Donald J. Trump in 2020.
Dr. Fauci said that he expects that all high school students will become eligible for vaccination before school starts in the fall, and younger children will meet the conditions in the first quarter of 2022 at the latest.