The Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine has a trust problem, although Americans are more receptive to being vaccinated overall, a new poll shows.
What You Need To Know
- According to a Washington Post-ABC News poll released Monday, 73% of unvaccinated Americans are unwilling to get the Johnson & Johnson shot
- Federal regulators recently ended a 10-day recommended pause of the J&J shots as they looked into reports of rare yet serious blood clots in recipients
- Americans, meanwhile, are increasingly growing more comfortable with the idea of being vaccinated, the poll found
- But a quarter of unvaccinated adults surveyed said the Johnson & Johnson pause made them less inclined to get inoculated with any vaccine
According to a Washington Post-ABC News poll released Monday, 73% of unvaccinated Americans are unwilling to get the Johnson & Johnson shot after federal regulators recommended a pause to look into reports of rare yet serious blood clots in recipients. The Federal Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention lifted the pause Friday.
Fewer than half of all U.S. adults surveyed (46%) said they consider the Johnson & Johnson vaccine to be very or somewhat safe — and that number is just 28% among unvaccinated adults.
By comparison, 73% and 71% of adults overall said they believe the vaccines developed by Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna are safe, respectively.
Americans, meanwhile, are increasingly growing more comfortable with the idea of being vaccinated, the poll found. Seventy-four percent said they have either already received at least one dose or definitely or probably will get vaccinated — up 9 percentage points from January.
But a quarter of unvaccinated adults surveyed said the Johnson & Johnson pause made them less inclined to get inoculated with any vaccine.
The 10-day Johnson & Johnson interruption was in response to what turned out to be 15 cases of serious blood clots out of nearly 8 million doses given. Of the 15, all have been women, and 13 were under the age of 50. Three died, and seven have been hospitalized.
At a meeting Friday, the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, which advises the FDA, determined that the benefits of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine in preventing COVID-19 outweigh the risks and voted 10-4 to continue recommending the shot for people 18 years and older. The vaccine will now include a new warning on its label about the possibility of the rare blood clots.
The skepticism about Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine comes at a time when U.S. vaccinations are already on the decline, as supply is outstripping demand. The seven-day average for inoculations fell by 18.5%, from 3.2 million to 2.6 million, from April 11 to April 20, the latest day CDC data is available.
Dr. Robert Gluckman, who represented America’s Health Insurance Plans at Friday’s advisory committee meeting, said any additional vaccine hesitancy “is far more likely to cause real harm to people.”
Overall, 24% of those surveyed said they probably or definitely won’t get vaccinated.
While the Johnson & Johnson shots accounted for less than 5% of all vaccine doses administered at the time of the pause, they have been expected to play a key role in protecting Americans from COVID-19. Unlike the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, Johnson & Johnson’s requires just one shot and can be stored in commercial refrigerators, making it more ideal for reaching people who are homeless or living in harder-to-reach rural areas.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, the federal government’s top infectious disease expert and chief medical adviser to President Joe Biden, said people should not be scared off by the Johnson & Johnson pause, but instead look at it as evidence that federal regulators are taking vaccine safety seriously.
“The rest of the world was looking at the United States’ decision, particularly because they know that the CDC and the FDA are the gold standard for both safety and the evaluation of efficacy,” Fauci told ABC News’ “This Week” on Sunday. “ … There was a pause, it was examined. And now we're going ahead with it.”
After the pause ended, Paul Stoffels, chief scientific officer at Johnson & Johnson, said “we believe a single-shot, easily transportable COVID-19 vaccine with demonstrated protection against multiple variants can help protect the health and safety of people everywhere.”
“We will collaborate with health authorities around the world to educate healthcare professionals and the public to ensure this very rare event can be identified early and treated effectively,” Stoffels added in a news release.