Apr 14, 2021 - Health

Fauci: J&J pause shows how seriously FDA takes vaccine safety

President Biden's chief medical adviser Anthony Fauci suggested Wednesday that the decision to pause use of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine could actually bolster vaccine confidence, calling it "an affirmation that safety is a primary consideration when it comes to the FDA and CDC."

Why it matters: Tuesday's decision to pause the J&J rollout has set off a chain reaction of fears — both about the safety of the vaccine and about whether the FDA is overreacting, considering that only six cases of rare blood clots have been reported out of 7 million vaccine doses administered.

Driving the news: Fauci explained on CNN's "New Day" that the pause is "temporary" and intended to serve as an alert to doctors, since the the standard blood thinner used to treat clots could actually make things worse for vaccinated patients experiencing this rare kind of clot.

  • Fauci said he does not have reason to believe that many more cases will be reported from recipients of the J&J vaccine, and that he expects the pause will last "days to weeks" rather than "weeks to months."
  • A CDC expert committee will meet on Wednesday to review the situation.

What they're saying: Pressed on criticisms that the FDA pause could increase vaccine hesitancy, Fauci responded, "You could take that on the other side of that coin. Because I know when I go out there and talk to people about hesitancy, the overwhelming reason for that is a concern about safety."

  • "So if there is a concern about hesitancy out there, the fact that this was done would in my mind underscore and confirm how seriously we take safety, even though it's a very rare event," he continued.
  • "If anybody's who has a doubt that they may not be taking safety seriously, I think this is an affirmation that safety is a primary consideration when it comes to the FDA and the CDC. That's why it was done and that why it's a pause. It isn't a cancellation, it's a pause."

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