Written by Daniel Maloney (News Writer)
Recently, the Johnson & Johnson coronavirus vaccine has had reported cases of rare blood clots relating to the vaccine, occurring almost entirely in women under the age of 50, according to the Centers for Disease Control. Because of this, the United States recommended a ‘pause’ on the use of the vaccination on April 13. While this may seem like a large concern, after ten days the pause was lifted and usage of the vaccine continued, with warnings for women under the age of 50. This may seem understandably confusing to many, given the possible danger of the vaccine, but the likelihood of developing this from the vaccination is incredibly small, to a point where the CDC concluded that the benefits of the vaccine greatly outweighed the potential danger.
To further explain the reasoning behind the past pause of the vaccination, it had reports of a rare adverse event called thrombosis with thrombocytopenia syndrome, also known as TTS according to the CDC. The CDC has also said that that for three weeks after receiving the vaccine one should seek medical attention right away if they develop one or more of the following symptoms: Severe or persistent headaches or blurred vision, shortness of breath, chest pain, leg swelling, persistent abdominal pain, and/or easy bruising or tiny blood spots under the skin beyond the injection site. The CDC also assured the public that cases of this occurring were extremely rare, at a rate of 7 per 1 million vaccinated women between 18 and 49 years old, which is about 0.0007%.
A vote is done by a CDC panel deciding whether to remove the pause or not ended in a 10-4 majority for allowing the vaccine again. Most of the 4 that decided against it wanted a more prominent warning about the risk to younger women taking the vaccine and further availability of alternatives to the specific vaccine. In the European Union, J&J’s rollout of the vaccine was stopped, but, after adding an adequate warning to people getting the vaccination, the EU’s drug regulator approved it for usage. Lifting the pause will allow states to begin vaccination efforts among hard-to-reach populations like rural Americans, and elderly people who may have difficulty leaving their homes. This is because unlike the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccines the J&J one only needs one dose to fully work.
Although the vaccine is back for use, daily doses have fallen from around 3.4 million to 2.95 million, a decrease of almost 13 percent, giving a possibility of rollout still being slower than before the pause. While it is hard to pinpoint what the cause of this completely is, many may be wary of getting COVID-19 vaccinations after hearing headlines of them possibly being unsafe. This also could be because more than half of the nation has received at least one dose of vaccination, leading to less demand going forward with more and more people who were eager to get the vaccination now having it. Yet another reason is because of a lack of shipments of vaccinations due to a factory error that had ruined millions of doses.
All in all, the Johnson and Johnson vaccine and all Coronavirus vaccines, in general, should not be something one should be wary of getting. The likelihood of getting any major side effects is so astronomically low that the benefits of now being safe from the Coronavirus vastly outweigh the danger. But even now that it has been concluded the vaccine is safe, many still may not be willing to get the vaccine as much as previously, leading to people in charge of pushing the vaccination effort having a possibly tough time ahead.