However, these efforts have not alleviated the immense pressure on the Biden government to find a way forward quickly. The government has worked for months to reduce vaccine hesitation across the country, and any lengthy pause in the use of the Johnson & Johnson shot could undermine those efforts. Frustration is also growing among governors who say the J&J vaccine – the only one-shot option available in the U.S. – is critical to vaccinating vulnerable groups like the homeless, the elderly, and prisoners.
“The longer the break, the longer it will be before we convince people that this vaccine is safe again,” said Republican Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson to POLITICO.
Conspiracy theorists and anti-vaccine proponents already are with the Johnson & Johnson setback Inciting hesitation and distrust through social media.
“It’s a setback – no question about it,” said Peter Hotez, a vaccine expert at Baylor College of Medicine. “When there is this type of aggression against vaccines, the equation changes. This is exploited. “
The White House did not respond to a request for comment. HHS did not comment on the taping for this story.
Federal officials said they were calling for a break, rather than just issuing a warning to the public and clinicians, because of unusual aspects of the clots that are currently being investigated. Known as cerebral venous sinus thrombosis, they develop in blood vessels that lead to the brain. Some of the women who developed the disease after vaccination also had low blood platelet levels, which contribute to the formation of blood clots. Health experts believe the strange pairing could be the by-product of an immune reaction to the vaccine.
The fact that the pairing can be worsened by the blood-thinning heparin was of particular concern to officials in the Biden administration, as the drug is a standard treatment for most types of blood clots.
The six known cases were J&J directly or to the CDC through the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS), which relies on healthcare providers to report when a person reacts to a vaccine.
Federal officials are now urging doctors to report any cases that have so far flown under their radar in order to lead both the recommendations of the CDC Vaccine Advisory Board and a separate but parallel investigation by the FDA that is making the J&J vaccine in the March has admitted.