The U.S. called for a pause on the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine on April 13, after multiple instances of blood clots cropped up following vaccinations. The U.S. has already vaccinated approximately 72 million citizens, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. This is prompting questions about how many people have received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine vs the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines.
Of the nearly seven million people who’ve received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, only six U.S. citizens developed blood clots. All six were women between the ages of 18-48, according to the New York Times. One woman has died, and one ended up in critical condition at the hospital. Despite the low number of issues compared to the large number of administered doses, federal health agencies are recommending a pause out of “an abundance of caution.”
In the U.S., Pfizer and Moderna have provided the vast majority of vaccines thus far in the pandemic. Between Pfizer and Moderna, approximately 23 million vaccine doses are being administered each week vs. the 7 million total doses provided by Johnson & Johnson. No issues have arisen from either the Moderna or Pfizer vaccines.
Despite the far higher numbers of Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, the U.S. was still relying on Johnson & Johnson to provide hundreds of thousands of weekly doses. A pause on its distribution will almost certainly throw a wrench into U.S. vaccination efforts.
Johnson & Johnson initially intended to provide 100 million vaccine doses to the U.S. government by the end of May, a goal the pause will likely make far more challenging. In comparison, Pfizer intends to deliver a total of 300 million doses to the U.S. government, a number that Moderna aims to match.
Dr. Peter Marks, director of the Food and Drug Administration’s Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research, and Dr. Anne Schuchat, principal deputy director of the CDC, issued a joint statement recommending a pause on the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. The statement notes that the “adverse events appear to be extremely rare” but still recommended no more doses be administered until additional data is gathered.
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