FDA advisory panel endorses Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine

Dr. Paul Offit, a member of the FDA's advisory committee, joins “GMA” to discuss the latest on Johnson & Johnson's vaccine authorization.
2:57 | 02/27/21

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Transcript for FDA advisory panel endorses Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine
Philadelphia and a member of the fda's advisory committee. Dr. Offit, good morning to you. Good to have you. You, along with your colleagues, voted to recommend authorizing the Johnson & Johnson vaccine for emergency use and while it does offer strong protection, it didn't perform as well as the pfizer and modern vaccines in some areas. What is your message to people as they consider whether to get this vaccine? This vaccine is going to keep you out of the hospital. It's going to keep you out of the intensive care unit and keep you from dying. It's a single dose. It's refrigerator stable and I think most importantly actually this sort of gets lost, is that when this vaccine was tested in South Africa where the south African variant is common and when it was tested in Brazil where the Brazilian variant is common it worked to keep you out of the hospital and out of the morgue. I think that's really important because that also predicts the messenger mrna vaccines, the modern vaccine, the pfizer vaccine will do the same. We're worried about variants of concern but that was really encouraging data. Absolutely, especially as we're seeing new variants emerge in the United States. Johnson & Johnson was made aware of a couple of cases of a serious allergic reaction as we've seen in other vaccines. There were also rare cases of vascular events, blood clotting that may or may not have been tied to the vaccine itself. Again, all very rare. I've spoken with health experts who do want to know more about that. How much should we be concerned about potential side effects? This happens all the time. When you have a large number of people studied 44,000 people were studied in this. You're always going to see small numbers pop up in the large database. Does it work that way when you put it out into the real world? A perfect example. There was hepatitis B vaccine introduced a number of years ago. That was found to have about five cases of heart attacks in the vaccine group and none in the practice seen blow group and basically five or ten cases of prostate cancer in the placebo group and none in the vaccine group. That vaccine didn't cause heart attacks any more than it prevented prostate cancer and this is a problem with small numbers derived from large databases. I can tell you I worked on a vaccine at children's hospital Philadelphia that would prevent rotavirus. In that 70,000 person trial, there were five cases offense arm and leg fractures in the placebo group and none in the vaccine group. That was statistically significant, therefore, we made a vaccine that prevented arm and leg fractures which is obviously not true. When you see these, it's worth to see what happens when it's given to tens of thousand, hundreds of thousands and generally see those things go away which is I suspect what will happen here. We've already started to see some data with pfizer and moderna's vaccine as well. Dr. Offit, thank you so much for your time this morning. We do appreciate it.

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

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