While the joint decision by the FDA and CDC to recommend a pause in the use of Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccine sparked concern in the public on Tuesday, Dr. Anthony Fauci says the decision should underscore how seriously the government takes vaccine safety.
Fauci, President Joe Biden’s top medical adviser and the director of the National Institute for Allergies and Infectious Diseases, said during an interview with CNN on Wednesday that he hopes the decision to temporarily pause the use of the vaccine leads to more trust in the government’s approval of vaccines.
“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.,” Fauci said. “So if anybody's got a doubt that they may not be taking safety very seriously, I think this is an affirmation that safety is a primary consideration when it comes to the FDA and the CDC.”
The FDA and CDC both recommended the pause Tuesday after a sixth person was reported to have experienced rare and severe blood clots after receiving the single-shot vaccine. So far, about 7 million people have safely received a dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
Fauci added during his interview with CNN that the pause was instituted to give time for medical experts to better understand the extremely rare syndrome and notify doctors how they can treat the issue.
“If there are women out there who have been vaccinated and who get this syndrome…we want them to make the doctors out there who know about this to make sure they treat the person correctly," Fauci said.
White House COVID-19 response team coordinator Jeff Zients said Tuesday that he does not believe the pause in the Johnson & Johnson vaccine will have a “significant impact” in the U.S. vaccine supply levels. He added that the country currently has enough doses of both Pfizer and Moderna to continue vaccinating at the current pace of about 3 million doses a day.
At a regularly scheduled briefing of the White House COVID-19 response team, Zients added that the federal government is currrenlty delivering more than 25 million doses of Pfizer and Moerna vaccines to states each week.
He also said that the Biden administration still projects to meet its goal of administering 200 million doses within its first 100 days in office, and that there will still be enough supply by the end of May to administer vaccines to every U.S. adult.