Will The Johnson & Johnson-Pause Affect Biden’s 200 million Vaccination Goal?

by Elpidio R. Estioko

With the pause in the use of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine due to reported six cases of unusual blood clot and the waning interest of people having to take the vaccines, observers say these will significantly impact President Joe Biden’s goal of 200 million vaccine doses to be administered within his first 100 days in office.

Federal health agencies recommended the pause until CDC authorizes that it is safe to use the Johnson & Johnson single-dose vaccine again. CDC’s top regulator said:

“The Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended pausing use of the vaccine Tuesday amid six reported cases of a rare and serious blood clot out of the nearly 7 million Americans who have received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. The FDA’s top vaccine regulator said the move was out of “an abundance of caution.”According to Jeff Zients, the White House COVID-19 response coordinator in a statement, the recommended pause won’t have a “significant impact” on Biden’s vaccination plan.

So it seems like Biden will hit his goal of 200 million administered vaccine in his first 100 days in office.

The way I see it, while there was a vaccination slump, it will not be causing delay because the federal government have procured enough Moderna and Pfizer vaccines to be able to meet the goal and fill up the position Johnson & Johnson left.

Zient further explained that the Pfizer’s and Moderna’s two-dose vaccine made up the majority of U.S. vaccines so far.

“More than 25 million doses have been free for use weekly, with 28 million available this week,” Zients said. “Johnson & Johnson vaccine make up less than 5% of the recorded shots in arms in the United States to date.”Zients also added: “This is more than enough supply to continue the current pace of vaccinations of 3 million shots per day, and meet the President’s goal of 200 million shots by his 100th day in office – and continue on to reach every adult who wants to be vaccinated.”

Zients said the administration is working to “quickly” reschedule people slated to receive a Johnson & Johnson shot for the Moderna or Pfizer vaccine. This will not create frustration to people already scheduled to be vaccinated.

The Johnson & Johnson pause is not the only factor the Biden administration needs to hurdle. The other factor that is also playing a big role in impacting to derail attaining the goal is vaccine hesitancy. This is even aggravated by the fact that it suddenly became a political issue that is now being backed up by a political party convincing their members and other people not to take the vaccine.

A poll by the Kaiser Family Foundation found that 20% of US adults said that either they would not get vaccinated or would do so only if required. Another 17% say they want to wait until the vaccine had been available longer and they could see how it affected others.

Put those two groups together and you can see the country is starting to run low on unvaccinated adults who are eager to get a shot. It will be a big number the administration needs to consider and address with urgency.

In Mercer County, Ohio, on the border with Indiana, people used to show up at the end of the day to claim any leftover shots. Recently, though, Mercer has had to throw out some doses, the county health administrator Jason Menchhofer told the Times.

This hesitancy situation is causing a problem as far as the administration is concerned.

When asked about the vaccine slowdown, Ron Klain, Biden’s chief of staff, emphasized the role of hesitancy. “We’ve got people who are less eager,” Klain said. “We know we have to make the shot more convenient, particularly for younger people.”

This is a solution the Biden administration is moving to.

To do so, the administration is increasing the number of pharmacies that can give the shot, to about 40,000 and will soon start urging them and other vaccine clinics to move to a no-appointment system; people will simply show up and get a shot, as they have already done in New York City.

The White House also wants employers to offer shots at work and colleges to offer shots to students. The reintroduction of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine is also likely to help.

“As people see the benefits to being vaccinated, I think we’ll continue to see progress,” Klain said.

That seem to be correct since according to the Kaiser’s polls, the number of Americans hesitant to get a vaccine has declined substantially since December, and the vaccines continue to work phenomenally well. Fully vaccinated people rarely get Covid and almost never get a serious version of it.

We know the Johnson & Johnson pause and the hesitancy problem to take the vaccines are really causing the slowdown of the vaccination plan but the Biden administration is working on attaining the goal of 200 million vaccinations within the first 100 days of his administration.The innovative approaches to solving these problems are working ad shod n affect the administration’ goal of attaining 200 million vaccination within the 100 days of Biden’s office!

Editor’s Note: After a temporary pause, the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) and CDC recommend vaccination with the J&J/Janssen COVID-19 Vaccine resume among people 18 years and older. However, women younger than 50 years old especially should be aware of the rare but increased risk of thrombosis with thrombocytopenia syndrome (TTS).

ELPIDIO R. ESTIOKO was a veteran journalist in the Philippines and a multi-awarded journalist here in the US. For feedbacks, comments… please email the author at estiokoelpidio@gmail.com.

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