US stops using J&J vaccine

WASHINGTON, D. C.: President Joe Biden’s Covid-19 vaccination campaign hit a snag on Tuesday (Wednesday in Manila) when federal regulators recommended a “pause” in administering Johnson & Johnson shots.

(FILES) In this file photo taken on March 4, 2021 Johnson & Johnson Covid-19 Janssen Vaccine boxes sit in a locked refrigerator at the US Department of Veterans Affairs’ VA Boston Healthcare System’s Jamaica Plain Medical Center in Boston, Massachusetts. – European regulators in April 2021 are reviewing side effects of Johnson & Johnson’s single-dose Covid-19 shot, after a handful of cases of rare blood clots were reported among its recipients. Overall, the vaccine prevented moderate to severe Covid-19 by 66.1 percent 28 days after the shot, but this rose to 85.4 percent when considering only severe disease. (Photo by Joseph Prezioso / AFP)

But the White House portrayed the action as important validation of his measured approach
throughout the rollout.

Biden declared that even with a temporary loss of J&J’s one-shot vaccine, there is a huge supply of Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, enough that “is basically 100 percent unquestionable, for every single solitary American.”

Perhaps more concerning than any worry about supply, however, is the potential blow to public confidence in all of the vaccines, as polls suggest potentially tens of millions of Americans are hesitant to get the shots that public health experts say are necessary for the nation to emerge from the pandemic.

The pause should have the opposite effect, boosting confidence that the government is putting safety first, Biden and top health officials said at a White House briefing.

The advisory by the Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention — citing a need to investigate reports of rare but potentially dangerous blood clots — was “testimony to how seriously we take safety,” said Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert.

Aides recognized that they had to portray the decision as ensuring the “gold standard” of

safety, to avoid feeding into vaccine hesitancy.

“I think it’s a very strong argument for safety actually,” Fauci said.

White House coronavirus coordinator Jeff Zients added that the pause by the agencies “should reassure the American public that they will be very diligent and conservative about how they approach the vaccines.”

They argued the pause proved the prudence of Biden’s cautious approach to promises around vaccine supply and delivery, as well as his administration’s reluctance to make commitments to share excess vaccines with the world because of concerns about potential setbacks such as this.

“They’re clearly trying to reassure people there will be supply, and it will be safe,” said former White House communications director Jennifer Palmieri.

“You don’t want this to have happened, but in terms of what are your tools when it does, they used their best ones — the president, the most senior person who has credibility and the top experts — to do it.”

Due to supply issues, the J&J shot reflects just a small share of doses being administered, though it had been one of the most promising vaccines given its ease of administration and distribution.

Zients said the US still expects to take delivery of enough doses of the other two approved vaccines for every adult American to get their shots by the end of May.

Moderna and Pfizer this week are delivering 28 million doses to the federal government — enough to exceed even the current 3 million shot-per-day pace.