Now that there have been several reports of otherwise healthy people developing blood clots after taking the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine, several agencies, including the FDA and the CDC, have asked for a temporary pause in administering shots to people.
In fact, the J&J vaccine was totally withdrawn from the market as of last week. The specific cause of this decision was the discovery that six women suffered serious blood clots after having been given the vaccine.
One of those women ultimately died. There may well be more cases of similar complications from the vaccine, but as of now, their extent or number remains unknown.
In the wake of all this, it is to be expected that the press would solicit the opinion of Dr. Anthony Fauci about what is going on. Though Fauci has given many inconsistent and contradictory assessments and recommendations over the course of the pandemic, his opinion continues to be sought out.
Fauci on the J&J Vaccine
During an appearance on NBC’s “Meet the Press” on Sunday, April 18, Fauci was asked what he believed would ultimately happen to the J&J vaccine.
“My estimate is that we will continue to use it in some form. I doubt very seriously if they just cancel it. I do think there will likely be some sort of warning or restriction or risk assessment. I don’t think it’s just going to go back and say, ‘OK, everything’s fine. Go right back,’” explained Fauci.
On Friday, April 23, a CDC advisory panel will meet and determine whether or not to extend the halt on the use of the J&J vaccine. The panel will make a decision about whether to pull the vaccine from the market entirely or just restrict its use. If the vaccine is to be restricted, the panel will decide the ways in which this will be done.
Fauci said that he expects a decision to be reached on the matter quickly, probably during the meeting on Friday itself. He also predicted that before the end of the summer, there will be statements issued about whether or not people who have taken the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines will require a third booster shot.
Since all COVID-19 vaccines from all companies essentially make use of the same technique — namely, manipulating the mRNA in the patient’s cells to produce bits of the coronavirus protein, which, it is hoped, will trigger the body to develop an immune response — there is a possibility that similar complications can result from any of the vaccines.
Once bits of the viral protein have been created, they linger in the bloodstream, even after the body develops immunity to the virus. However, since the proteins have the ability to cause cells that they come into contact with to clump together, some doctors and scientists, like Michael Yeadon, the former Vice President and Chief Scientist of Allergy and Respiratory Research at Pfizer, worry that this may be what is causing these blood clots.
Since the vaccines were rushed out before any long-term tests could be conducted, we simply don’t know what sorts of long-term health complications they might cause.