White House: Johnson & Johnson pause won’t have ‘significant impact’ on vaccination plans
The White House said Tuesday that the pause on the Johnson & Johnson vaccine won’t have a “significant impact” on its national vaccination effort as the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccine supply remains steady.
The White House’s reassurance comes after the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) the same day called to halt administration of Johnson & Johnson vaccinations in the U.S. due to rare cases of blood clots.
“This announcement will not have a significant impact on our vaccination plan: Johnson & Johnson vaccine makes up less than 5 percent of the recorded shots in arms in the United States to date,” Jeff Zients, the White House COVID-19 response coordinator, said in a statement.
President Biden had previously secured enough doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines for 300 million Americans, Zients said, adding that the U.S. had made more than 25 million doses of both vaccines available each week.
“This is more than enough supply to continue the current pace of vaccinations of 3 million shots per day, and meet the President’s goal of 200 million shots by his 100th day in office—and continue on to reach every adult who wants to be vaccinated,” he said.
“We are working now with our state and federal partners to get anyone scheduled for a J&J vaccine quickly rescheduled for a Pfizer or Moderna vaccine,” Zients added.
U.S. officials called for a pause in administering the Johnson & Johnson vaccine as the FDA and CDC review six cases of a “rare and severe type of blood clot” out of the more than 6.8 million people in the U.S. who have received the inoculation.
All six of these cases occurred among women between 18 and 48 years old.
“Until that process is complete, we are recommending a pause in the use of this vaccine out of an abundance of caution,” Peter Marks, a top FDA official, and Anne Schuchat, a top CDC official, said in a joint statement.
“This is important, in part, to ensure that the health care provider community is aware of the potential for these adverse events and can plan for proper recognition and management due to the unique treatment required with this type of blood clot.”
A wide majority of Americans have received the other vaccines which use messenger RNA technology. Almost 100 million received Pfizer-BioNTech and nearly 85 million received Moderna, according to CDC data.
Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine, which uses an adenovirus structure technology, received its FDA emergency use authorization in February, later than the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccine emergency approvals issued in December.
The halt in the Johnson & Johnson vaccine’s administration has already raised concerns among public health experts that the pause will hamper confidence in the vaccine and contribute to hesitancy to get the shot.