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Reproduced from Economist/YouGov poll; Chart: Axios Visuals

Americans' confidence in the safety of Johnson & Johnson's coronavirus vaccine took a big dip this week after the pause in its use, per new YouGov polling, even though the risk of blood clots following the shot is extremely low, if it exists at all.

Why it matters: For the majority of people, particularly high-risk Americans, getting the J&J shot is almost certainly less dangerous than remaining vulnerable to the coronavirus.

Between the lines: Some experts' fear that the news would contribute to general vaccine hesitancy in the U.S. appears to be well-founded.

  • Before the pause, only 26% of Americans said they thought the J&J vaccine was very or somewhat unsafe, per YouGov.
  • After the pause, that number jumped to 39%.

The good news: Confidence in the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines remained unchanged from a previous survey, per YouGov, "indicating that concerns over one vaccine do not spill over to affect other vaccines."

What they’re saying: Some experts who initially applauded the pause have criticized a federal advisory committee's delay in making a recommendation about what to do next.

  • “There is a cost of inaction, including in emboldening anti-vaccine activists & sowing doubt that hampers vaccine efforts not only in the US but around the world,” tweeted Leana Wen, a public health professor at George Washington University.
  • “There will be people who won’t get a vaccine at all who would have gotten it otherwise, in which case you will have done more harm than good,” Paul Offit of Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia told The Hill.

Go deeper

Americans will likely have to navigate a maze of vaccine "passports"

Illustration: Rae Cook/Axios

Many private businesses and some states are plowing ahead with methods of verifying that people have been vaccinated, despite conservative resistance to "vaccine passports."

Why it matters: Many businesses view some sort of vaccine verification system as key to getting back to normal. But in the absence of federal leadership, a confusing patchwork approach is likely to pop up.

Apr 15, 2021 - Health

Pfizer CEO: Booster shot "likely" needed within 12 months of getting fully vaccinated

Nils Buecheler, a sophomore at Barry University, receives a Pfizer-BioNtech COVID-19 vaccine from Jason Rodriguez, a pharmacy student, at the Jackson Memorial Hospital on April 15 in Miami, Florida. Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

People will "likely" need a third shot of the Pfizer vaccine as a booster within 12 months of being fully vaccinated, Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla told CNBC on Thursday.

Why it matters: COVID-19 vaccine boosters are expected to become a regular part of life for years to come, as variants continue to spread and become dominant strains in some countries.

Apr 15, 2021 - Health

CDC: Vaccinated people can still get COVID-19, but it's very rare

CDC director Rochelle Walensky. Photo: Erin Clark-Pool/Getty Images

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has identified about 5,800 fully vaccinated people who have contracted COVID-19 so far, a fraction of the 66 million Americans who have been vaccinated.

Why it matters: The infections, called "breakthrough cases," are rare. The findings are consistent with previous studies that indicate positive coronavirus cases are extremely unlikely among vaccinated people, and that the vaccines prevent severe disease.