Johnson & Johnson Pause


By Lynn McDonald


Many were shocked last week when news hit that the Johnson & Johnson Coronavirus vaccine had been paused due to health concerns linked to the injection.  Reports of severe issues with blood clots led The US Food and Drug Administration to suggest a pause in delivering the inoculations until a medical investigation could be performed.

This caused a ripple of unease through the millions of people who had received the Johnson & Johnson vaccination thus far.  Alex Johnson, editor-in-chief of The Bridge, experienced a range of emotions.  “I was extremely anxious when I first heard. I had trouble focusing and spent a lot of time reading news articles, trying to find something to calm me down. Once I found how limited the reactions were, I felt a little better, but I was definitely tense for a couple days. I was relieved when I received the vaccine and I still feel safer having had it.”

Craig Johnson, web specialist for The Bridge, had a similar reaction. “I was one of the skeptics on getting vaccinated in the first place so when I heard that they were pausing the J&J shot over health concerns I would say it worried me at first, but after I checked into it and [saw] that the blood clotting issue had affected only 6 out of over 7 million people that were vaccinated, I was relieved.”

According to CNN Health, the Johnson & Johnson vaccine has been administered to eight million people in total.  Six women in the United States, between the ages of 18 and 48, developed severe blood clotting problems, resulting in one death.  Adversely, during the clinical trial, one 25-year-old man was stricken by the same affliction.

Dr. Paul Stoffels, chief scientific officer for Johnson & Johnson, stresses that the blood clotting disorder is extremely rare, and the benefits outweigh the risks.  “The safety and well-being of the people who use our product is our number one priority and we strongly support awareness of the signs and symptoms of this extremely rare event to ensure the correct diagnosis, appropriate treatment and expedited report by health care professionals.”

On Apr. 23, the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices will meet to discuss the reported cases and determine how to move forward.  ACIP chair Dr. Jose Romero expects that enough information has been gleaned to effectively assess the situation.  In his opinion, the CDC is not likely to suggest the vaccination be completely halted.

The Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccination is delivered in one shot, with an estimated 66.3% efficacy rate in clinical trials.

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