CDC Advisory Committee needs more time, data to assess safety & risks of J&J COVID-19 vaccine

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — On Wednesday afternoon, the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices has decided they need more time to figure out what the next step will be for use of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine supply.

The committee met for 4 hours to discuss the safety of the vaccine and the blood clots that 6 women experienced.

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According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, as of April 12, nearly 7 million doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine had been given in the United States.

Action News Jax Courtney Cole listened in on the CDC’s emergency session and learned the committee wanted to be sure they didn’t rush to make a decision about the use of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

The doctors on the committee say they need more data about the J&J vaccine and its side effects and risks—before being able to make a sound decision on its safety.

“Honestly, I encourage everyone to just go and get the vaccine and trust the process. And I think this is a step forward to getting back to normal and that’s what we all need to do. So we just have to do our part,” said Sarah McGrath.

McGrath is one of the people who got their second dose of the Pfizer vaccine at the Gateway Mall site.

In a tweet today from the White House COVID-19 Response Team – They say they have “more than enough supply of Pfizer and Moderna vaccines” to hit their goal of 200 million shots in the Biden Administration’s first 100 days.

This tweet was ahead of the CDC Committee’s decision Wednesday and in response to the CDC and FDA asking states to put a pause on using Johnson & Johnson, on Tuesday.

Action News Jax Courtney Cole reached out to the Florida Division Of Emergency Management Twice today to learn what their specific plans are if the pause lasts for a long period of time. They’re still working on getting answers for us.

Johnson & Johnson is a viral vector vaccine, which makes it different from the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines that use mRNA technology. However, there are concerns about what issues with the J&J vaccine could do to vaccine hesitancy. But, it did not affect some people’s decision to get the shot.

People of all ages came to Gateway to get their second dose of the Pfizer vaccine, throughout the day.

“I feel confident in the decision. I work in the school system, so it’s something that I felt I really, truly needed to do. To keep myself safe, to keep the kids at work with safe,” Dr. Kimberly Armstead told Action News Jax Courtney Cole.

The CDC advisory committee plans to meet again in a week to 10 days to discuss use for the Johnson & Johnson  vaccine.