The uncontrolled spread of the deadly coronavirus called for the rapid development of vaccines. Many companies jumped into the race and soon we saw life-saving injections being provided for the high-risk population.
Johnson & Johnson is a famous firm for different medicinal products. The very company started rolling out coronavirus vaccine injections at the end of February 2021. The news of vaccine availability came out as a ray of hope for dismayed and hopeless inhabitants of the earth.
J&J Vaccine: The Unique Vaccine
This vaccine is different from contemporary vaccines (Moderna and Pfizer). Unlike other vaccines that inject fat-based bits of viral genetic material into your body to promote antibody production, J&J uses parts of the virus for this purpose.
The shell of the virus is removed and incorporated into adenovirus (a virus that causes common cold and flu). The adenovirus is then injected into the human body to promote your cells to produce spike protein. The virus is weakened so that it cannot replicate inside the host and cause disease.
The spike protein is produced by your own body as a response to the DNA inside the viral shell. This protein is then identified by the body’s immune system and antibodies are produced, that too without the development of the disease.
Single Shot Vaccine
The J&J vaccine was introduced as a single dose vaccine in the phase 3 trial because the immune response was superior to mRNA vaccines. The effectiveness of this vaccine was found to be 66% globally and 72% in the US.
Rare Adverse Effect Halting the Delivery
The J&J vaccine was very popular with the masses with mass vaccination centers being set up in Denver (USA). Around 6.8 million American residents had received the vaccine when a
rare side effect led to complete stoppage of the vaccine.
Blood Clots After Vaccine: Cerebral Venous Sinus Thrombosis
Out of the millions of vaccine beneficiaries, just 6 individuals reported developing extremely rare blood clots. All the affected ones were women aged 18-48 years old. The rare blood clots developed after the vaccine shot that resulted in the death of 1 person and the admission of another in the intensive care unit. The clots (thrombi) were found inside the brain, a life-threatening condition called cerebral venous sinus thrombosis
CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) restrained the healthcare facilities from administrating the J&J shots.
J&J explained that they had already expected a rare side effect in people suffering from blood clot disorders. Though rare, thrombocytopenia patients (low platelet count) were also expected to develop this rare disorder.
Impact of Vaccine Delay
The White House COVID-19 Response Coordinator Geoff Bennett on 13th April released a statement that the vaccine stoppage will not have a significant impact on President Joe Biden’s vaccine plan of 200 million shots by his 100th day in the office.
Increased Hesitancy in The Public
Ever since the announcement of vaccine availability, there has been a lot of mistrust in the masses. According to a survey 450 out of 672 participants claimed that they would accept a COVID-19 vaccine if it was recommended by an authenticated authority.
According to the CDC, the government faces an immense Vaccination burden, especially in racial and ethnic minority groups. A lack of proper knowledge regarding the vaccine has proven to be an evident obstacle in the optimal delivery of the vaccine. Therefore, the doctors and healthcare providers are at the top of their seats promoting the vaccine injections.
In such a situation where the doctors have to go to extremes to validate the vaccine, hue, and cry regarding its adverse effects come as a blow. The news of J&J vaccine side effects increased mistrust and fear among the general public.
CDC continually updates the guidelines to let people know that they can hang out indoors with fully vaccinated individuals.
Fear of Multiple Shots
Another factor that reduced the acceptance of vaccines in the US (and globally) was the fear of multiple vaccine shots. After the pause of the J&J vaccine, many individuals restrained themselves from getting a vaccine because they wanted a single shot (which was not possible with AstraZeneca, Pfizer, and Moderna).
David Wohl, an experienced physician from the University of North Carolina School of Medicine exclaimed that a lot of people came in to take the J&J vaccine because they did not want two shots as they feared needles.
Mixed Response on State Level
The pausing of the J&J vaccine only increased the fear of the general public but had a mixed impact on the state level.
As of now, Canada has pre-ordered around 10 million doses of the very vaccine that shall reach the cold country by the end of this month. The news was confirmed by Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. However, he added that “we are following closely the developments in the United States”
On the other hand, the J&J vaccine supply to Europe was delayed following the disclosure of adverse effects. Some European countries paused rollouts due to the fear of blood clot disorders which resulted in them being termed “unacceptably slow in vaccine rollout” by WHO.
Asian countries like India received the vaccine in late February, however, there was widespread skepticism towards the safety of vaccines. All of this happened after the J&J vaccine rollout was stopped.
The J & J vaccine is unique from the mRNA vaccines (Pfizer, and Moderna) in several ways. Instead of fat-soluble bits, this vaccine uses adenovirus to transfer viral DNA into the host cells which develop immunity as a response. It is a single-shot vaccine.
The occurrence of rare blood clot disorder (cerebral venous sinus thrombosis) following vaccine administration prompted the CDC to stop its rollout. This led to increased mistrust regarding the safety of the vaccine. The fear of multiple pricks (with other vaccines) also increased hindrances to vaccine acceptance.