Federal health agencies announced that they would temporarily stop using Johnson & Johnson’s one-dose vaccine after reports of blood clots among several people in the United States. The blood clots were in combination with low platelets in a number of individuals who received the COVID-19 vaccine.
During clinical trials, the European Medicines Agency reported six serious cases of clotting, including one person who died from a clotting disorder during clinical trials. The blood clots, called cerebral venous sinus thrombosis, have been seen in combination with low levels of blood platelets. All six cases involved women between the ages of 18 and 48. While Centers for Disease Control and Prevention agents issued a statement that these severe types of blood clots have been “extremely rare,” the Food & Drug Administration announced the temporary halt of the vaccine.
“We are recommending this pause while we work together to fully understand these events, and also so we can get information out to health care providers and vaccine recipients,” said Dr. Janet Woodcock, acting FDA commissioner.
Former President Trump, however, criticized the Biden Administration for the vaccine pause and said that Johnson & Johnson’s reputation would be permanently challenged. He suggested that the FDA and CDC were cozying up with Pfizer to challenge the J&J vaccine over six rare blood clot cases. There have been six reported blood clot cases in over 6.8 million Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine recipients.
“The FDA, especially with long-time bureaucrats within, has to be controlled. They should not be able to do such damage for possibly political reasons, or maybe their friends at Pfizer have suggested it. They’ll do things like this to make themselves look important,” Trump said.
Vaccine distribution has been politically motivated in the past, especially since Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla waited six days until after the Nov. 3 presidential election last year to announce the company’s vaccine. The FDA intentionally held onto medical data that indicated the vaccine to be 90% effective and a signal for the end of the pandemic. Pfizer also undermined Trump’s candidacy after he proposed regulations to reduce drug prices in the pharmaceutical world. It’s all a political move.
The FDA announced that they would be treating these specific types of blood clots and convene a meeting of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices to further assess the cases. They issued a statement that an analysis review will determine their best practice. Until then, the FDA is recommending a pause.
Johnson & Johnson released a statement saying that their number one priority remains the “safety and well-being of people who use our products.” They’ve delayed the rollout of their vaccine in Europe and will be reviewing cases with European health authorities and medical experts to plan for the unique treatment required with this type of blood clot. The pause will last for several days.
Instead of rushing herd immunity and vaccination goals, politicians should step back and treat this virus like the flu. The world has been split into vaccinated and unvaccinated, with some individuals feeling the pressure or bully to get the shot even when they don’t even feel comfortable doing so. If you want the vaccine, get it. If you don’t, then don’t. Your personal health shouldn’t be a political game.