The pause in administering the Johnson & Johnson coronavirus vaccine is likely to be lifted by Friday, according to Anthony Fauci, the country’s top infectious-disease expert. Fauci made the Sunday talk show rounds and expressed optimism that the single-dose vaccine will be back in rotation in one form or another. “By Friday, we should have an answer as to where we’re going with it,” Fauci said on ABC’s This Week. “I would think that we’re not going to go beyond Friday in the extension of this pause.” Fauci said he saw it as highly unlikely that the country would stop using the vaccine entirely. “My estimate is that we will continue to use it in some form. I doubt very seriously if they just cancel it,” Fauci said on NBC’s Meet the Press.
Although Fauci expects use of the vaccine to resume, it could come with restrictions or a more specific warning. “I do think that there will likely be some sort of warning or restriction or risk assessment,” Fauci said. “I don’t think it’s just going to go back and say, ‘Okay, everything’s fine. Go right back.’ I think it’ll likely say, ‘Okay, we’re going to use it, but be careful under these certain circumstances.’”
Acting FDA Commissioner Janet Woodcock had previously said she expected the pause in the use of the vaccine to only last “a matter of days” while officials investigated “extremely rare” blood clots. There have been six cases of blood clots among women aged between 18 and 48 and one of them died while another is in critical condition. More than 7 million people have already received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. Even though the blood clots only affected women, the pause was for the whole population because “they want to make sure that they’re not missing something,” Fauci said.
Fauci expressed optimism on the Johnson & Johnson vaccine as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that half of U.S. adults have received at least one COVID-19 shot. Around 32.5 percent of the adult population has been fully vaccinated. Fauci, however, expressed frustration that vaccine hesitancy remains very high, particularly among Republicans, a group that has been particularly opposed to coronavirus restrictions. “The fact that one may not want to get vaccinated, in this case a disturbingly large proportion of Republicans, only actually works against where they want to be,” Fauci said on CNN’s State of the Union. “They want to be able to say these restrictions that are put on by public health recommendations are things that they’re very concerned about. But the way you get rid of those restrictions is to get as many people vaccinated as quickly and as efficiently as possible.”