Why the Pause of the Johnson & Johnson Vaccine Should Give You Confidence

With three coronavirus vaccines approved for emergency use in the United States, the vaccine rollout was well underway when suddenly—or so it seemed to those of us watching the news—the Johnson & Johnson vaccine was paused. Health officials recommended the pause after six reports of blood clots came to light. Now, some of the general public has begun to distrust the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine following the news.

However, it is important to remember that these six incidents came out of the nearly 7 million doses that had already gone out before the pause took effect. Dr. Fauci notes that these blood clots associated with the Johnson & Johnson vaccine are extremely rare: less than 1 in a million.

The System Works

Those who are expressing outrage or concern over the pause in the vaccine rollout of Johnson & Johnson’s single-dose vaccine should remember that this indicates the system is working. Health officials are so cautious with the COVID-19 vaccines that even the smallest negative side effect is enough for them to pause the vaccine and reassess its safety. That is an inherently good thing, and it means that we can have greater confidence in the vaccine rollout because officials are taking safety seriously.

What if I Already Got the J&J Vaccine?

Individuals who have already received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine might understandably have some concerns now that they have heard of the pause in the rollout of this vaccine. However, health experts note that because of the rarity of the blood clots, there is no need to panic if you have already received it. Instead, simply stay vigilant for signs of adverse side effects, such as a severe headache or backache, shortness of breath, abdominal pain, swelling in the legs, and signs of bruising or red spots on the skin. If you notice any of these side effects, reach out to your doctor immediately.

Other side effects associated with the vaccine, including pain at the injection site or common flu-like symptoms such as aching of the joints and slight fever, are considered normal and not cause for any concern. These side effects are a sign that your immune system is activating, which is a good thing. It shows that the vaccine is working the way it is supposed to. The CDC recommends resuming the rollout with a warning about the blood clots, and when it does, individuals can be confident that researchers and healthcare officials have gone above and beyond with due diligence.