FDA ends pause on Johnson & Johnson vaccine

Earlier today, Allahpundit wrote about the latest data on medical complications connected to the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. The bottom line is that the chance of developing a serious blood clot is exceedingly slim, around 7 per million in women under 50. On the heels of that news, a CDC committee voted this afternoon to resume distribution of the J&J vaccine:

The Food and Drug Administration ended its recommended pause on the Johnson & Johnson Covid-19 vaccine on Friday and will add a warning to its label to note the potential risk of rare blood clots.

The decision, which clears the way for states to resume vaccinations, came after a panel of advisers to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention voted to end the pause in a meeting on Friday…

At the meeting, Dr. Tom Shimabukuro, the deputy director of the C.D.C.’s immunization safety office, presented the nine new confirmed cases, which brought the total to 15. All of the cases have been in women, and 13 have been in women between 18 and 49 years old. The disorder combines blood clots, often in the brain, and a low level of platelets, blood cells that typically promote clotting.

The AP reports the committee that voted to resume use of the vaccine had some disagreements about what kind of warning was appropriate in this case:

The committee members all agreed the J&J vaccine “should be put back into circulation,” panel chairman Dr. Jose Romero, Arkansas’ health secretary, said in an interview after the vote. “The difference was how you convey the risk … It does not absolve us from making sure that people who receive this vaccine, if they are in the risk group, that we inform them of that.”…

Dr. Jesse Goodman of Georgetown University closely watched Friday’s deliberations and said people should be made aware of the clotting risk but that it shouldn’t overshadow the benefits of COVID-19 protection.

“We need to treat people as adults, tell them what the information is and give them these choices,” said Goodman, a former vaccine specialist at the FDA.

The question is whether anyone will step up to take this now that it has been paused once. In theory, people should look at the tiny number of clotting cases (and for men the fact that only women were impacted) and decide this is quite safe. But as Allahpundit pointed out earlier, reality is a bit different. It seems the pause has not only made people less likely to take this vaccine but less confident about all vaccines. That’s especially true among people who were already planning not to take the vaccine or those who were fence sitters.

If nothing else, we’ll have a steady supply of vaccine we can offer to the rest of the world to counter China’s bumbling vaccine diplomacy. The J&J vaccine is a hell of a lot better than the one China is passing out.