Come Friday and federal authorities shall take a final call on resuming the Johnson and Johnson Covid 19 vaccine after 10 days. This vaccine had been stopped by the Centre for Disease Control (CDC) after there were reported cases of blood clotting among six women.
Time To Bring The J And J Vaccine Back?
The Advisory panel that advises the CDC is reportedly considering the option of releasing the vaccine with a warning. Another option is to release the vaccine with a restriction for certain groups such as women below 50 years of age.
Another option being speculated upon is that the CDC could ask for more time and more data before making a final decision. These options seem unlikely. CDC Director Doctor Rochelle Walensky told NBC‘s Today show of Thursday that a decision needs to be taken quickly, adding that she was hopeful the Johnson and Johnson vaccine could be used again soon.
Doctor William Schaffner, Chairman of Preventive Medicine at Vanderbilt University, is also a Consultant to the Advisory panel. He is also hopeful a decision will be taken.
Out of the seven million people who have already been vaccinated, six women encountered a rare blood clot along with low platelet counts. Health advisors are not sure if a dangerous immune response triggered the rare blood clots.
The Members of the Advisory Council held an emergency meeting last week and said that they had little data to conclude on either decide whether or not to continue the Johnson and Johnson vaccine. The members added they needed more time to watch and see if more such side effects were observed. Clarifying, the Advisors admitted they wanted to see if similar side effects are observed in any of the 3 million people who were vaccinated with the Johnson and Johnson vaccine before the hold was put in place.
Doctor Jose Romero, Chairman of the Advisory Committee, issued an assurance to ABC News, adding that they wanted to inform all Americans that the possibility of side effects such as blood clotting exists. Doctor Romero went on to say that they want to reassure the American people and that they want to examine it and make a decision about the benefits of using this vaccine.
Doctor William Schaffner pointed out that such a swift action of stopping the Johnson and Johnson vaccine after reports of only six cases out of seven million was like finding a needle in a Haystack. He said this confirmed that the system works when monitoring vaccine safety. He further said that the meetings of the Advisory Council were streamed live, demonstrating the transparency of the Council.
This disruption by stopping one vaccine comes at a time when deaths and hospitalization rates are still high even after a year since Covid 19 was first detected. Health experts are warning that new variants of the Covid 19 virus were spreading fast and this time younger people were being impacted. The experts also stressed the need to administer vaccines to as many people as possible before the new variants of the Covid 19 virus take hold among the people.
Pointing out the need to alert Doctors and Health workers about the side effects and how to deal with them, Federal Regulators stressed the need not to use blood thinners such as Heparin which has been observed to complicate matters more. Clearly, an alternative treatment needs to be found fast.
With the covid 19 pandemics far from over and with the risk of new variants entering American soil, The Centre For Disease Control needs to find answers and clear vaccines with fewer risk of side effects. Meanwhile, the Medical fraternity is waiting for a decision to be taken fast.