- Less than 1 in 4 currently unvaccinated Americans are willing to take Johnson & Johnson’s single-shot COVID-19 vaccine, according to a Washington Post-ABC News poll.
- The news comes after the FDA and CDC lifted an 11-day pause of the J&J vaccine on Friday following an investigation into the vaccine’s connection to blood clots in 15 women, three of whom died.
- Health experts have continued to stress that the vaccine is safe and beneficial, with the director of the National Institutes of Health noting that severe reactions to aspirin are more common.
- “We found that for every 1 million doses of this vaccine, the J&J vaccine could prevent over 650 hospitalizations and 12 deaths among women aged 18-49,” CDC director Rochelle Walensky said, “and this vaccine could prevent over 4,700 hospitalizations and nearly 600 deaths among women over 50.”
FDA and CDC Lift J&J Suspension
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) lifted their pause on Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccine on Friday, but hesitancy to receive the single-dose jab is high among currently unvaccinated Americans.
The pause first began on April 13 following reports that six women had experienced rare blood clots within their brains. Eventually, nine more cases — all in women — were confirmed from the pool of nearly 8 million Americans who have received the J&J vaccine.
Of the 15, three have died, and seven others have been hospitalized.
Still, as Dr. Grace Lee, a doctor with the CDC, noted, “The last 11 days have been reassuring that we have not identified hundreds more cases despite enhanced awareness.”
Part of that enhanced awareness involved studying if these clots had any links to medical conditions or medications, but none were found. That includes obesity and the use of birth control, which some had suspected was leading to an increased risk factor because it also carries an increased risk for blood clots; however, those types of clots, as well as their treatments, are very different from what was seen with the J&J vaccine.
What Are the Risks?
As a condition for lifting the 11-day pause, a CDC advisory committee voted to add a warning about the increased but very rare risk for severe blood clots. Notably, those warnings had already been anticipated and printed ahead of the vote.
They’ll be handed out on the facts sheets people receive when they go to vaccination sites and will warn people that they should go to the doctor if they develop shortness of breath, chest pain, leg swelling, persistent abdominal pain, or neurological symptoms like blurred vision or severe and ongoing heachaches.
That said, experts such as Dr. Francis Collins, Director of the National Institutes of Health, have stressed that the J&J shot is safe.
“The risk of aspirin inducing a significant intestinal bleed is much higher than what we’re talking about here,” Collins said on NBC’s Meet the Press.
“But we Americans, we’re not that good at this kind of risk calculation [when] something sounds scary,” he added. “Somebody has pointed out, you are less likely as a woman taking J&J to have this blood-clotting problem than to get struck by lightning next year, so it’s a really low risk.”
“In terms of benefits, we found that for every 1 million doses of this vaccine, the J&J vaccine could prevent over 650 hospitalizations and 12 deaths among women aged 18-49,” CDC director Rochelle Walensky said, “and this vaccine could prevent over 4,700 hospitalizations and nearly 600 deaths among women over 50.”
On Friday, at least 10 million J&J doses were able to be deployed immediately.
Vaccine Hesitancy Is High for J&J
According to a Washington Post-ABC News poll, fewer than 1 in 4 currently unvaccinated Americans are willing to get the J&J shot.
Meanwhile, trust in the two-dose Pfizer and Moderna vaccines is much higher, but that information also comes as reports show five million people — nearly 8% of those who’ve gotten one shot of Pfizer or Moderna already — have missed their second doses.
The reasons why vary but do include the fear of strong side effects and the assumption that a single dose will offer enough protection.
Some vaccine experts have continued to criticize the J&J pause for its potential contribution to vaccine hesitancy.
“If I hear the phrase ‘abundance of caution’ one more time, I’m going to jump out of my window,” Paul A. Offit, a vaccine expert at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, told The Washington Post. “In the name of transparency, in the name of openness, we scare people.”
Other viral experts have argued that the pause was the right call, saying, “safety signals need to be investigated rapidly, especially when tied to severe outcomes, even if rare.”
See what others are saying: (The Washington Post) (The New York Times) (NBC News)
Wisconsin Police Deny Planting Evidence in Viral Video, Release Their Own Body Cam Footage
The footage police released shows that during a search, officers found a corner tear from a plastic bag inside a backseat passenger’s pocket. An officer then discarded it into the car after determining that it was empty.
Viral Video Appears To Show Officer Planting Evidence
The Caledonia Police Department in Wisconsin has responded to a viral cell phone video that appears to show an officer planting a small plastic baggie inside of a car during a traffic stop.
The now-viral footage was posted to Facebook by a man who goes by GlockBoy Savoo.
The user, who also filmed the clip, wrote in his post’s caption that the officer did this “just to get a reason to search the car” and said the cop didn’t know he was being recorded by the passenger.
Police Shut Down Accusations With Their Own Footage
After that video spread across social media, many were outraged, calling the Caledonia police dirty for seemingly planting evidence. All the outrage eventually prompted the department to announce an investigation Saturday.
Within hours, the department provided an update, claiming that officers didn’t actually plant any evidence or do anything illegal.
Police shared a lengthy summary of events, along with two body camera clips from the incident. That statement explained that the driver of the vehicle was pulled over for going 63 in a 45mph zone.
Two passengers in the backseat who were then spotted without seatbelts were asked to identify themselves and step out of the car. During a search of one passenger’s pockets, an officer pulled out “an empty corner tear” from a plastic baggie.
Police claim the corner tear did not contain any illegal substances, though they said this type of packaging is a common method for holding illegal drugs.
In one body cam clip, an officer can be heard briefly questioning the backseat passenger about the baggie. Then, that piece of plastic gets handed off to different officers who also determined it as empty before the officer in the original viral video discarded it into the back of the car.
The officer can also be seen explaining where the plastic came from to the passenger recording him.
“Aye, bro you just threw that in here!” the front seat passenger says, as heard in his version of the events.
“Yeah, cause it was in his pocket and I don’t want to hold onto it. It’s on their body cam that they took it off of him…I’m telling you where it came from, so. It’s an empty baggie at the moment too, so,” the officer replies.
The department went on to explain that while it would discourage officers from discarding items into a citizen’s car, this footage proves that evidence was not planted.
Authorities also noted that no arrests were made in this incident and the driver was the only one issued a citation for speeding. The statement added that since four officers were present at the scene, police have more than six hours of footage to review but they promised to release the footage in full in the near future.
See what others are saying: (Heavy)(CBS 58) (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)
Medical Groups, Local Leaders Push for Healthcare Workers and Public Employees To Get Vaccinated
The move comes as COVID cases have nearly quadrupled in the last month due to the rapid spread of the highly infectious delta variant.
Increased Calls for Mandatory Vaccinations in Certain Sectors
More than 50 of America’s largest medical groups representing millions of healthcare workers issued a statement Monday calling for employers of all health and long-term care providers to require mandatory COVID-19 vaccinations.
The groups, which included the American Medical Association, the American Nurses Association, and 55 others, cited contagious new variants — including delta — and low vaccination rates.
“Vaccination is the primary way to put the pandemic behind us and avoid the return of stringent public health measures,” they wrote.
The call to action comes as new COVID cases have almost quadrupled during the month of July, jumping from just around 13,000 infections a day at the beginning of this month to more than 50,000.
While the vast majority of new infections and hospitalizations are among those who have not received the vaccines, many healthcare workers remain unvaccinated. According to data collected by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, over 38% of nursing home staff were not fully vaccinated as of July 11.
An analysis by WebMD and Medscape Medical News found that around 25% of hospital workers who were in contact with patients had not been vaccinated by the end of May when vaccinations became widely available.
In addition to calls for medical professionals to get vaccinated, some local leaders have also begun to impose mandates for public employees as cases continue spiking.
Last month, San Francisco announced that it was requiring all city workers to get vaccinated. Also on Monday, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said that all municipal employees — including police officers and teachers — must either get the jab or agree to weekly testing by the time school starts in September.
Dr. Fauci Says U.S. Officials Are Considering Revising Mask Guidance for Vaccinated People
Numerous top U.S. health officials have applauded efforts by local leaders to mitigate further spread of the coronavirus, including the nation’s top infectious disease expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci, who confirmed Sunday that federal officials are actively considering whether to revise federal masking guidelines to recommend that vaccinated Americans wear face coverings in public settings.
In May, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said people who are vaccinated do not need to mask in public. Although that was a non-binding recommendation, many states and cities that had not already lifted restrictions on masking began to do so shortly after.
But now, local leaders in areas seeing big spikes have begun reimposing mask mandates — even for those who are vaccinated — including major counties like Los Angeles and St. Louis.
In his remarks Sunday, Fauci also emphasized that, despite claims from many conservatives, those efforts are in line with the federal recommendations, which leave space for local leaders to issue their own rules.
While Fauci and other top U.S. public health officials have encouraged local governments to take action, Republican lawmakers in several states are taking steps to limit the ability of local leaders and public health officials to take certain mitigation measures.
According to the Network for Public Health Law, at least 15 state legislatures have passed or are considering bills to limit the legal authority of public health agencies — and that does not even include unilateral action taken by governors.
Some of the leaders of states suffering the biggest spikes have banned local officials from imposing their own mask mandates, like Arkansas, which has the highest per capita cases in the country right now, as well as Florida, which currently ranks third.
Notably, some of the laws proposed or passed by Republicans could go beyond just preventing local officials from trying to mitigate surges in COVID cases and may have major implications for other public health crises.
For example, according to The Washington Post, a North Dakota law that bans mask mandates applies to other breakouts — even tuberculosis — while a new Montana law also bars the use of quarantine for people who have been exposed to an infectious disease but have not yet tested positive.
See what others are saying: (The Washington Post) (The New York Times) (The Guardian)
Couple Slammed Over Slavery-Themed Pre-Wedding Photoshoot
Many have expressed outrage at the duo for trying to romanticize slavery while others were left completely dumbfounded by the entire ordeal.
Photoshoot Goes Viral
A couple has come under fire after sharing images on Instagram from their slavery-themed pre-wedding photoshoot.
The photos show a Black man in shackles looking deeply into his white fiancé’s eyes before she works to releases him.
“1842. Days passed and everything changed, our love got stronger and stronger, he was no longer a slave, he was part of the family,” the post’s caption reads.
To indicate his transition from “slave” to family, a fourth image shows him wearing a long coat and top hat with well-shined shoes, as opposed to the white shirt, trousers, and straw hat he wore in the previous images.
Social Media Users React
It’s not immediately clear who these people are since the social media handle is redacted in the images circulating online.
Still, many have expressed outrage at the duo for trying to romanticize slavery while others were left just completely dumbfounded by this entire ordeal. Some also directed criticism at the photographer who agreed to the shoot, along with the hundreds of Instagram users who liked the original posts.
To see people romanticize this shit is infuriating – these people are too much. There is no such thing as slave consent and the sexual abuse of male slaves was real.— Nurse Elise 🌒 (@EliseRootedMind) July 21, 2021
There were three people there counting the photographer and not one thought should we? And over 1400 people hit the like button? And it’s part 2 like there’s more? I so want to be at the wedding when minister asks if anybody objects.— Randi Pro Democracy (@RandiKinman) July 21, 2021