Issues & Insights

J&J’s Vaccine Halt: ‘Follow The Science,’ Or Follow The Fear?

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I&I Editorial

The FDA and the CDC have halted use of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, a conventional one-shot anti-COVID-19 preventative, because a handful of people have had nasty side effects. Are they following the science, or something else?

No one likes secondary effects of vaccines. It’s a big reason why nearly a third of all people refuse to take any vaccine. But in the case of the J&J vaccine, one possible secondary effect can be quite scary: A small number of people develop a rare form of blood clots.

So how many? Six. That’s out of more than 6.8 million people who have taken the J&J shot, or fewer than one in a million. All of those developing blood clots were women between 18 and 48. One died, one was hospitalized in critical condition.

No doubt, using the precautionary principle, the FDA and Centers for Disease Control figure it’s better to be safe than sorry.

But is it?

Again, that one out of more than a million is a minuscule number. But the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, in just one quick shot, shows extraordinary effectiveness for a pandemic virus that we’ve been told has killed more than half a million people in the U.S.

You have to ask yourself: How many people will now put off getting the vaccine or not get a shot at all? Well, there are some two million shots that have been shipped but not used. So hundreds, if not thousands, likely will die. Is that worth the tradeoff for a vaccine that will afflict just 0.000088%?

The CDC’s  Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System, or VAERS, shows that just for the flu vaccines given out each and every year, there are a large number of people recording significant issues.

According to the CDC, “Approximately 30,000 VAERS reports are filed annually, with 10%-15% classified as serious (resulting in permanent disability, hospitalization, life-threatening illnesses or death).”

And yet, no self-respecting CDC member or FDA member would suggest you not take a flu vaccine. Why is the J&J different? Indeed, it appears not just to be safe, but just as safe as the annual flu vaccine, if not safer.

The National Review makes two good points: One, the rate for women getting blood clots while on the birth control pill is about 0.3% to 1% over 10 years, while “as many as 900,000 people could be affected (1 to 2 per 1,000) each year in the United States” by deep-vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolisms, medically the worst kinds of blood clots.

By contrast, the Johnson & Johnson jab has proven its worth against COVID-19. As the website Prevention.com notes:

The Johnson & Johnson vaccine was found to be 85% effective against severe forms of COVID-19, which prevents hospitalization and death, per the FDA. The company’s phase 3 trial also reported no COVID-19-related deaths and no COVID-19 cases requiring medical intervention after 28 days in vaccinated participants.

The problem here is that fear, not science, is dictating the response. But what will those people think who have had doubts about getting a vaccine and now won’t? Will that lead to more people dying and sick than if the J&J vaccine had stayed on the market? We’re still losing nearly 4,000 people a week to COVID, based on the statistics.

The big problem is that those who say “follow the science” are the biggest hypocrites about doing so. And they’re sowing unwarranted fear among those with either have had the J&J shot or who might be willing to get it.

That includes CDC epidemiology guru Anthony Fauci, who seems to give contradictory advice about mask-wearing, vaccines and social distancing on a nearly daily basis. And his colleague, CDC Director Rochelle Walensky, who’s now telling Michigan Gov. Gretchen Witmer to “close things down” in her state because of a jump in COVID cases, even though the science is clear: Lockdowns don’t help.

Again, that’s all politics, not science.

The FDA is no better. It insisted the J&J vaccine be taken off the market, despite legalizing far more dangerous treatments, including chemical abortions. As the Federalist notes, “The FDA has previously reported that chemical abortions have led to 24 maternal fatalities, more than 4,000 adverse medical reactions, and hundreds of hospitalizations and severe infections.” So why is it still on the market?

Meanwhile, by taking Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine off the market, our so-called “experts” will only postpone herd immunity (another thing Fauci has weaseled on), something they claim to ardently desire. So why ban a successful vaccine, knowing there are always tradeoffs between efficiency and side effects and that it will likely save thousands if not tens of thousands of lives?

For the record, we don’t tell people what to do. If you don’t want a vaccine, that’s up to you. What we really don’t want, however, is the hypocrisy of those in our “woke” health bureaucracies who relentlessly instruct us to “follow the science,” but then don’t follow it themselves. Instead they follow the politics — or even worse, the fear.

— Written by the I&I Editorial Board

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I & I Editorial Board

The Issues and Insights Editorial Board has decades of experience in journalism, commentary and public policy.

5 comments

  • You miss the point. All along the experts have been 100% certain that everything they say is 100% correct and anyone even asking questions is an anti-vax traitor.
    Even when what they’ve just said contradicts what they last said.
    The experts may even have convinced themselves that when they say something, it automatically becomes fact.
    The public are not fools – they always interpret this level of certainty by experts as very suspicious.
    So now things are not so certain after all, and there is some doubt about some treatments the experts cannot easily see the issue in terms of risk – because up to now, there have been no risks.
    It’s called painting yourself into a corner. If they had been upfront with the true scope of their knowledge from the start by saying something like “we don’t know many things about this issue, but we are trying our best – and we advise the following”, they and others would have seen things in proportion; from there they could assess and communicate the risks properly.
    However, I’ve now reached the stage where I don’t trust what they say or do – and I think there are many like me. Not only about vaccines (which really aren’t vaccines in the true sense) but about treatments such as HCL, Ivermectin and others which somehow don’t count in this new world order.
    The whole issue has become an unbalanced panic attack that’s getting shriller by the minute.

  • “Science” makes no predictions and implies no policies. People propose policies and argue for them, perhaps, on the basis of scientific research. Fear is a useful guide, often. The best explanation for this JnJ pullback comes as usual from Alex Berenson on Twitter, who argues that the American policy makers are afraid they’ll stumble into a morass of blood-clotting deaths the way the Europeans have with AstraZeneca’s vaccine, which he says is very similar to the JnJ.

  • More on the unwisdom of the FDA’s “pause” on the J&J vaccine: https://issuesinsights.com/2021/04/14/the-fdas-pause-on-distribution-of-the-jj-vaccine-is-overly-risk-averse/ and also note that the annual incidence of CVST clots in the general population (5 per million) is MUCH higher than in people who received the J&J vaccine (about 1 per million): https://hopkinsmedicine.org/health/conditions-and-diseases/cerebral-venous-sinus-thrombosis. (CVST clots are rarer than other clots.)

  • Wow. To think non-scientists can lecture a group of prominent scientists boggles the logical mind. The absolute demented delusions present here in the editorial board and commenters is less shocking than depressing. This isn’t about freedom of speech; it’s about yelling “Fire!” in a crowded theater. As 45 whipped up his base to storm the Capitol, so do IBD’s spawn to their readership.

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