About one out of every five Americans say they will never get a COVID-19 vaccine if they can avoid it, according to a new poll that was taken right before the United States paused Johnson & Johnson vaccinations because of an extremely rare issue with blood clots, threatening to set back America’s vaccination campaign.
The FDA and CDC said they are looking into the potentially dangerous blood clots, which occurred in just six women out of the nearly 7 million doses of the Johnson & Johson vaccine that have been administered so far. One woman died.
Despite what appears to be an exceedingly rare risk, the pause could threaten Americans’ trust in vaccines, as Europeans’ confidence plummeted in the wake of problems with the AstraZeneca vaccine last month.
The temporary pause in the AstraZeneca vaccine, which was developed at Oxford University, caused vaccine confidence to fall in Italy, Spain, Germany, France and other European Union countries, according to a YouGov tracking poll.
Dr. Anthony Fauci said the blood clotting issues surrounding the AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson vaccines are similar.
“There are some rather strong similarities about this with regard to the timeframe following vaccination, particularly, importantly, the clinical syndrome of these clots together with low platelets, so there are a lot of similarities there that you just can’t miss,” Dr. Fauci told NBC Wednesday.
The CDC called the blood clotting problems “extremely rare” and the acting FDA commissioner expects the pause to only last a few days as agencies review the vaccine’s safety.
Johnson & Johnson said it is also temporarily pausing the vaccine rollout in Europe as they review the vaccines.
The pause will likely not help persuade the 21% of Americans who now say they will not get any COVID-19 vaccine, which is down a statistically insignificant three points from January and March polls by Monmouth University.
Just over half, 51%, of Americans say they have received at least one dose, and another 14% say they will get a COVID-19 vaccine as soon as it is available to them.
The pause could also hurt vaccination campaigns in Europe, Africa and other parts of the world. The Johnson & Johnson vaccine showed promise because of its one-shot regimen and ease of transportation.
While the pause might dissuade some Americans from getting the vaccine, the Biden administration said it hopes it will have the opposite effect.
White House coronavirus coordinator Jeff Zients said the pause “should reassure the American public that they will be very diligent and conservative about how they approach the vaccines.”
President Biden said Tuesday that America already has enough doses for every American without the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
“My message to the American people on the vaccine is, I told you all. I made sure we have 600 million doses of [Pfizer and Moderna],” the President told reporters Tuesday. “So there is enough vaccine, that is basically 100% unquestionable for every single solitary American.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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