Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, predicted Sunday that the Johnson & Johnson coronavirus vaccine will continue to be used “in some form,” though it could come with a warning or restriction.
Asked in interview with NBC’s “Meet the Press” whether it’s more likely the vaccine will still be used with some restriction or not used at all, Fauci stressed that “everything is on the table” but estimated the vaccine won’t just be shelved after federal agencies called for a pause in its use last week.
“I can give you my estimate. My estimate is that we will continue to use it in some form,” Fauci said. “I doubt very seriously if they just cancel it. I don’t think that’s going to happen.”
“I do think that there will likely be some sort of warning or restriction or risk assessment. I don’t think it’s just going to go back and say, ‘OK, everything’s fine,’ and go right back,” he added. “I think it’ll likely say, ‘OK, we’re going to use it. But be careful under these certain circumstances.'”
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Food and Drug Administration on Tuesday recommended pausing the use of the J&J shot over concerns of rare but severe blood clots.
A CDC vaccine advisory panel is set to meet Friday to discuss concerns about the vaccine. The panel met Wednesday, but delayed a vote on whether and how to limit the J&J based on sex or age.
Asked if the public will at least know something more definitive when the advisory committee meets at the end of the week, Fauci responded, “I’m fairly certain of that.”
“I think by Friday we’ll know which way we’re going on this. Hopefully we’ll get back on track,” Fauci said. “But I don’t think there’s going to be anything that’ll linger beyond that. I hope not. I don’t think so.”
Speaking on CBS News’ “Face the Nation,” Fauci said the flagging of the problem with the Johnson & Johnson vaccine proved how effectively the government is tracking the safety of the vaccines being used.
“One of the things you can take away from all of this is that when the surveillance system, the CDC and the FDA say that something is safe, you can be sure that it’s safe,” he said.