J&J is back on the menu

After 10 days, the pause on the J&J vaccine has been lifted. According to CDC Director Rochelle Walensky, there have been about 1.9 cases of severe blood clotting per million people who had received the J&J vaccine. It has been re-authorized for use in people aged 18 and older, now with an addendum to the label and fact sheet warning of the risk of blood clots: 

It’s important to note that at time of writing (April 24) only some states have already resumed its use. (These are Arizona, Colorado, Connecticut, Louisiana, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, Nevada, New York, Tennessee, Texas, Indiana, and Virginia.) However, this is coinciding with a larger trend of states ordering fewer vaccine doses.

The J&J vaccine’s return is probably good news for the rest of the world as well. Combined with the AstraZeneca vaccine, the J&J vaccine was supposed to be one of the big players in the global fight against COVID-19. But the U.S. pause raised concerns for vaccine diplomacy and the global rollout—J&J had also paused its European distribution, South Africa announced they were putting J&J distribution on a temporary hiatus, and Australia said it wouldn’t purchase any J&J doses. Resuming distribution in the U.S., which can act as a bellwether for which vaccines are seen as desirable abroad, might allay concerns about safety abroad.

More vaccine coverage

  • COVID source shoutout: Unique vaccine metrics
    Most states report some variation on the same COVID-19 vaccination metrics: doses allocated, doses administered, state residents who’ve been partially and fully vaccinated, and so on. But some states go beyond those basics.
  • J&J is back on the menu
    After 10 days, the pause on the J&J vaccine has been lifted. According to CDC Director Rochelle Walensky, there have been about 1.9 cases of severe blood clotting per million people who had received the J&J vaccine. It has been re-authorized for use in people aged 18 and older, now with an addendum to the label and fact sheet warning of the risk of blood clots.
  • Community Profile Reports now have vaccination data
    You can now get vaccination numbers for U.S. states, counties, and metropolitan areas in an easily downloadable format: the Community Profile Reports published daily by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). These reports are basically the HHS’s one-stop shop for COVID-19 data, including information on cases, deaths, PCR tests, hospitalizations—and now, vaccines.
  • How to talk about breakthrough cases
    A lot of journalists, especially those who aren’t familiar with the science/health beat, may be inclined to publish news of breakthrough cases as surprising or monumental. In fact, these cases—referring to a COVID-19 infection that occurs after someone has been fully vaccinated—are entirely normal, yet incredibly rare. But we still need to pursue data on them.

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