White House Chief Medical Advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci believes U.S. regulators will make a quick decision to lift the pause on administering the Johnson & Johnson (NYSE: JNJ) COVID-19 vaccine and get the vaccine “back on track.”
What Happened: Fauci made the comments in an interview with Reuters on Thursday, a day after an advisory committee to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) delayed a vote on whether to resume administering the J&J vaccine in the U.S. for at least a week.
According to Fauci, the pause indicated that the CDC and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration take safety very seriously. However, he added that if the pause is longer, there will be concern about not only that vaccine, it may also make those already skeptical even more hesitant to take the vaccine.
“I think we’ve just got to continue to emphasize that this is a very efficacious vaccine and could be used, and be very, very valuable on the global scene,” Fauci reportedly said.
Why It Matters: Earlier this week, U.S. health authorities decided to pause the distribution of the J&J vaccine to investigate a potential link between the one-shot vaccine and very rare blood clots. Six women between the ages 18 and 48 years developed blood clots after vaccination. One case was fatal and another is in critical condition.
The blood clots associated with the J&J vaccine were very similar to those seen with AstraZeneca plc’s (NYSE: AZN) COVID-19 vaccine, which has been plagued with reports of blood clots in some patients in European countries. The European Medical Agency is now investigating J&J’s vaccine over potential clotting risks.
However, the blood clots have not been seen with the vaccines developed by Moderna Inc. (NASDAQ: MRNA) and Pfizer Inc. (NYSE: PFE)/BioNTech SE (NASDAQ: BNTX). Both these vaccines, approved for emergency use in the U.S., use a different type of technology called mRNA. AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine isn’t approved for use in the U.S.
Price Action: Johnson & Johnson shares closed almost 0.3% higher on Thursday at $160.39 and further added almost 0.2% in the after-hours session to $160.65.
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