Pfizer and Moderna refused to publicly back Johnson & Johnson over blood clots

Gino Spocchia
·2-min read
<p>A vile of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, currently paused in the US</p> (AP)

A vile of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, currently paused in the US


Johnson & Johnson reportedly reached out to Pfizer and Moderna for public backing after US officials recommended suspension of the single-shot vaccine on Tuesday, after a small number of women suffered from a rare blood clotting side effect.

The Wall Street Journal reported on Friday that Johnson & Johnson (J&J) approached it’s biggest rivals, including Astra Zeneca, with concerns for its reputation, following the recommendation by US officials.

Moderna and Pfizer refused requests from J&J to form an alliance in support of the overall benefits of Covid vaccines, according to people familiar with the outreach, the WSJ reported.

It included calls for joint research into reports of rare brain blood clotting — associated with low platelet counts in the blood — and to inform the public of vaccine safety with a single voice.

But officials from Moderna and Pfizer refused because the two vaccines appeared to be safe and were not associated with reports of rare side effects.

Officials from Astra Zeneca, also suffering from reports of rare blood clotting in Europe, were the only rivals to agree with J&J, according to the WSJ.

On Wednesday, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said investigations into the six cases of blood clotting from the J&J shot were ongoing, with a further recommendation due in course.

One of the women died from the US blood clotting incident, out of more than seven million doses administered in total.

Chief medical adviser to the US president, Dr Anthony Fauci, said pausing the J&J vaccine was for “safety”, and that it would soon be “back on track”.

“The CDC and the Food and Drug Administration take safety very seriously,” said Dr Fauci. “I hope they make the conclusion of this quickly, and get back on track, and I believe they will."

The US has so far administered 198,317,040 doses of Covid vaccines, according to the CDC, with Pfizer or Moderna vaccines accounting for a significant number.

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