[guest post by Dana]
Federal health authorities recommended Tuesday that providers temporarily stop administering the Johnson & Johnson Covid-19 vaccine while they investigate a potential link to very rare blood clots.
Six women between the ages of 18 and 48 developed blood clots after receiving the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. One person died, and another is in critical condition, the Food and Drug Administration said.
“We are recommending this pause while we work together to fully understand these events, and also so we can get information out to health care providers and vaccine recipients,” Dr. Janet Woodcock, acting FDA commissioner, said during a briefing Tuesday.
The review is expected to be completed quickly, lasting “a matter of days,” officials said.
So just how big of a threat does it present?
The clots are considered extremely rare. Overall, more than 6.8 million people in the U.S. have received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
All six cases occurred among women between the ages of 18 and 48, and symptoms occurred 6 to 13 days after vaccination, according to a joint statement on Tuesday from Dr. Anne Schuchat, principal deputy director of the CDC and Dr. Peter Marks, director of the FDA’s Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research.
[Ed. I have loved ones who have a wait-and-see attitude about the vaccine, if not an outright heck-no-too-soon-to-know-long-term-side-effects. I suspect pushing the pause button on the J&J vaccine based on such a small percentage of those with adverse reactions will only add to their arsenal of reasons to delay and/or not get vaccinated.]
Meanwhile, a March Kaiser Family Foundation poll found that vaccine hesitancy has dropped:
About 55% of Black adults said they had been vaccinated or plan to be soon, up 14 percentage points from February, according to a poll released Tuesday by KFF. The rate now approaches that of Hispanics, at 61%, and whites at 64%. (Asian Americans were not polled in sufficient numbers to compare their responses with other racial and ethnic groups.)
But the poll found that 13% of respondents overall said they will “definitely not” be vaccinated, signaling that significant hurdles remain in the nation’s vaccination campaign.
Among all groups, Republicans and white evangelical Christians were the most likely to say they will not get vaccinated, with almost 30% of each group saying they will “definitely not” get a shot.
And while the poll indicated that some arguments are effective at persuading hesitant people — such as sharing that the vaccines are nearly 100% effective at preventing hospitalization and death — those messages do almost nothing to change the minds of people who have decided not to be vaccinated.
According to the CDC’s COVID-19 vaccine distribution and administration data tracker, New Mexico ranks as the state with the highest percentage of fully vaccinated population (29.65%). Georgia is at the tail-end with only 15.03% of their population fully vaccinated. Additionally, according to the CDC, 22.3% of the country’s population are now fully vaccinated.
UPDATE: Here is Dr. Fauci commenting on the J&J vaccine:
Dr. Fauci says it's "premature to comment" on whether the Johnson & Johnson COVID vaccine will be removed from the market, and this will be studied by the FDA and CDC during the pause on the vaccine https://t.co/408nMq2HX9 pic.twitter.com/bn1i8asfpL
— CBS News (@CBSNews) April 13, 2021
Paused. Maybe removed from the market. But let’s don’t speculate. Okay.