President Joe Biden's top chief medical adviser said on Sunday during visits on various news network that he expects the Johnson & Johnson Covid-19 vaccine, which was paused last week following concerns over rare but severe blood clotting, to resume use by Friday.
“I would be very surprised…if we don’t have a resumption in some form by Friday,” Dr. Anthony Fauci told CBS’s “Face the Nation,” (via the Wall Street Journal) expressing sentiments he shared on other networks Sunday.
The J&J vaccine on Tuesday was paused by the Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention after the agencies cited severe cases of blood clot in six women between the ages of 18 and 48, who developed the reaction after taking the vaccine. The Johnson & Johnson vaccine has been administered more than 7.2 million times in the U.S. and 481 times in the USVI.
Johnson and Johnson has said there wasn't enough evidence to establish that its vaccine against Covid-19 caused the rare blood clots. The pause of the vaccine will remain in place until Friday when a vaccine-advisory committee meet to review the matter.
According to WSJ, disease experts have said regulators could place an age or sex restriction on the vaccine. Regulators may also issue warnings to doctors on how to avoid or treat problems linked to the J&J shot.
According to WSJ, former FDA Commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb, who served in the Trump administration, said that “you might see a situation where the vaccine does get reserved for use in older individuals who are both potentially at lower risk of this side effect and also at higher risk of a bad outcome from Covid.” Another possibility is just bringing the vaccine back with different warnings, he said.
On ABC, Dr. Fauci said Sunday, “I don’t want to get ahead of them, but I believe we’ll be back with some sort of indication a little bit different from before the pause."
The V.I. Department of Health said Tuesday it had taken immediate action to notify Johnson & Johnson vaccine providers to mark inventory, continue to store the vaccines as previously instructed, and to continue to monitor and document storage unit temperatures. But the department has halted use of the vaccine following CDC and FDA action.
"There have been no reported cases of adverse effects among the population that received the vaccine in the territory. All six cases in the United States occurred among women between the ages of 18 and 48, and symptoms occurred 6 to 13 days after vaccination. None of the individuals who received the [J&J] vaccine in the territory are in the known risk group," said D.O.H.
The local health department encouraged all persons who have received either the Pfizer, Moderna, or J&J vaccine to monitor their symptoms after vaccination and report those symptoms using the V-safe app. V-safe is a smartphone-based tool that uses text messaging and web surveys to provide personalized health check-ins after you receive a COVID-19 vaccine. Visit vsafe.cdc.gov/. The app lets you report any side effects you may experience.
If you or your loved one have taken the J&J vaccine and develop severe headache, abdominal pain, leg pain, or shortness of breath within three weeks after vaccination, you should contact your health care provider. Health care providers are asked to report adverse events to the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System at https://vaers.hhs.gov/reportevent.html.
D.O.H. said its staff members were following up with individuals who received the J&J vaccine and are closely monitoring the situation nationally and locally.
"Though our mobile strike team has paused its efforts to deliver the [J&J] vaccines to residents, our community vaccination centers are still operational," said the department.