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How The Pause In J&J Distribution Could Affect Vaccine Hesitancy

A health care worker holds a vial of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine at Klerksdorp Hospital in Klerksdorp, South Africa, on Feb. 18.
A health care worker holds a vial of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine at Klerksdorp Hospital in Klerksdorp, South Africa, on Feb. 18.

Population health expert Dr. Ali Mokdad at the University of Washington joins "Intersection" to explain the issues with the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

About 7 million people in the country have received the one-shot Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine, but after six women developed blood clots federal officials called for a pause in distribution. 

The CDC says it’s reviewing the cases, also noting the blood clots are extremely rare. 

State and local officials say there should be enough supply of other vaccines despite the pause on Johnson & Johnson. 

Dr. Ali Mokdad, professor of health metric sciences at IHME and chief strategy officer for population health at the University of Washington, joins "Intersection" to explain the issues with the vaccine - and what it means for the vaccination campaign overall. 

Mokdad says the pause in Johnson & Johnson distribution shouldn’t detract from the success of the program overall.

“This has been a great success story, in my opinion, the fact that we are vaccinating as fast as we can. And right now we’re averaging over 3 million a day that will help us to control this pandemic,” Mokdad says.

Still, he says there are some challenges.

“If you look at Florida, for example, about 30% of people 18 or older are saying they will not take them vaccine. So we have a large percentage of Americans, and it varies by state, but a large percentage of Americans are saying, 'We will not take the vaccine.' ”

Mokdad says addressing vaccine hesitancy is a key element in reaching herd immunity.

“Every American knows somebody who has received the vaccine, and nothing has happened to them. So that has helped us a lot early on. Right now, with Johnson & Johnson, it is to be seen, what’s the impact of stopping Johnson and Johnson on vaccine hesitancy,” says Mokdad.

“We know, it will increase it. But how big of an impact we don’t know yet.”

Copyright 2021 WMFE. To see more, visit WMFE.