US calls for pause on Johnson & Johnson vaccine

Dr. Amesh A. Adalja discusses the suspension of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine and debunks the anti-vaccine movement.
4:58 | 04/14/21

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Transcript for US calls for pause on Johnson & Johnson vaccine
The fda, CDC, have called for a temporary pause on the Johnson & Johnson covid-19 vaccine after a rare blood-clotting disorder was found in six American women. The single-shot vaccine has been administered nearly seven million times here. Joining us now is Dr. Amesh adaljia, an infectious disease expert and senior scholar at the Johns Hopkins center for health security. First of all, doctor, thank you so much for being with us. I want to get your general reaction to this big news, this worldwide news, that our government is now putting that pause on the use of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. The bottom line is that this is a very, very rare complication, and not the normal course of events that you would expect for the vast majority of people who have gotten the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. I worry that this pause is going to increase vaccine hesitancy. I think it's important to understand this complication, to come up with guidance for this complication, and to alert healthcare providers about this complication, but I wonder if this blanket pause may have a negative effect on the uptake of this vaccine once the pause is lifted. Over the past year, there have been times where we've done stories of shortages of Clorox wipes and you go into the store, the shelves are clean, you can't find any disinfectant as well and the CDC now saying one in 10,000 chance of there being surface transmission. Doctor, did we miss it somewhere or are people being a little careful or could we have done a better job of telling people what the real focus should be, what the real threat should be, in terms of getting people to understand how this virus could be transmitted? I definitely believe that we messed up, when there was a lot of focus on surface transmission. When we were seeing the epidemiological data that people were getting infected from other people and we saw people cleaning their mail and we had people learning how to clean their groceries and they were spending a lot of time on it and they weren't really focusing on where it really mattered which is wearing masks and trying to social distance and washing your hands when you shake another person's hand and trying to avoid crowd and congregated places. That's where the bulk of transmission was going on and there was so much emphasis on surfaces I think we distracted people and it changed their perception and I think a lot of time wasted trying to get that right and now I think we're finally getting there but this is what happening durs a pandemic, there is a lot of shifting information and the public perceives information in a different way than the actual science and I think it is hard to give people actional tips on what to do, and telling people to wash your groceries, wash your mail and those things, those things were easier than to do than the other things, and it ended up breaking the trust of the public health community and the general public and hopefully we get this right but I think this type of mistake happens over and over again in these types of situations. Doctor, you talk about mistakes made. I want to take you back to October of 2019, where Johns Hopkins and Bloomberg school of public health ran through a global pandemic preparedness drill, and found, hard to believe, that the United States ranked number one in the world, although no country in the world was fully prepared to face a pandemic, we ranked number one in the world. In looking back, how could that have been gotten so wrong, and what lessons do you think you've learned and there at Johns Hopkins have learned to prepare us better for the next pandemic in the future? The biggest lessons to learn is that even if you are ranked the most prepared nation in the world, if you don't have leadership that's going to be proactive, that's going to meet the threat as it comes and not allow a virus like this to basically go January, February, and half of March without any mitigation efforts, if you don't have that kind of political will to actually take the right actions, the actions that countries like Taiwan took in December of 2019, just on rumors of covid-19, if you don't have that, no matter how prepared you are, no matter how great your CDC is, no matter how great Dr. Fauci is, it's not going to work if people don't listen to it and actually implement it from the highest level on and we had very bad presidential leadership for so long, during this pandemic, where mistake after mistake occurred, and government failure after government failure occurred, and I think we have to get this right now, we have a public health system that has been decimated, that has been undervalued and underfunded for decade after decade after decade, and this is the result, that we don't have contact tracers, we still couldn't test, we had a flawed vaccine rollout, all of that really rebounds on the fact that no matter how good you do, if you don't have the execution power and due have the leadership to do it, a pandemic is going to be made much worse and we cannot let this happen when we face our next infectious disease emergency. It is truly a matter of life and death. And so many lessons have been learned and are continuing to be learned. Johns Hopkins center for health security, senior scholar Dr. Amesh adaljia, thank you so much for being with us today. We certainly appreciate it. Thank you for having me. I just assume on his desk he has a sign that says tell it like it is. That is great. Exactly what you want to hear. Absolutely. Up next right here on

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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