- The Washington Times - Friday, April 16, 2021

A key advisory panel will meet on April 23 to discuss a path forward for the Johnson & Johnson vaccine as it investigates rare blood clots in several recipients, all but ensuring the pause in its rollout will last for at least 10 days.

The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, which advises the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on vaccine policy, will meet for six hours to discuss whether the pause should continue or if the U.S. can keep using the one-shot vaccine with recommendations for potential recipients.

ACIP advisers punted on recommendations at mid-week, saying they needed time to gather data on rare clots in six women who received the shot, heaping pressure on the administration to find a way forward.

“We recognize the critical importance of moving quickly,” CDC Director Rochelle Walensky said. “This meeting on Friday will be public, people can dial in.”

The pause is fueling concerns that people who are hesitant about vaccines will only get more fearful, as the U.S. races to immunize enough people to wrangle the pandemic.

Biden administration officials say Americans should take comfort in the fact the safety-monitoring system caught potential issues and is working through them. They also point to the availability of messenger-RNA vaccines from Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna that are the predominant options and haven’t raised red flags.

“We have great faith in the effectiveness of those vaccines and they have very strong safety profiles,” U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy said.

“Second, even if you’ve received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, the vast and overwhelming likelihood is that you will be just fine,” he said. “Keep in mind that over 7 million people have received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.”

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