Fauci defended pausing the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine rollout but said those who already got the shot shouldn't worry

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Sinéad Baker
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Anthony Fauci
Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, in the White House in January. MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images
  • Dr. Anthony Fauci defended the pause in the US rollout of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine.

  • He said it allowed regulators to study effects and alert physicians to any symptoms.

  • But he said people who already got the shot should not worry.

  • See more stories on Insider's business page.

Dr. Anthony Fauci on Tuesday defended the pause in the US rollout of the Johnson & Johnson coronavirus vaccine but also sought to reassure people who already got the shot.

In a video released by the White House on Tuesday, Fauci - the top infectious-disease expert in the US - said people who got the one-shot vaccine "should not be worried."

US health agencies on Tuesday recommended pausing the rollout of the vaccine, citing rare blood clots in six of the 6.8 million people in the country who had received it. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Food and Drug Administration said the recommendation was made "out of an abundance of caution."

Fauci said the millions of people who had received it should not be concerned. "As I mentioned, this is a very rare event," he said. "One in more than a million individuals. The J&J vaccine has been shown in clinical trials to be highly efficacious. What we're talking about now has nothing to do with the efficacy of the vaccine."

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But he defended the decision to pause the vaccine rollout, saying it would allow regulators to "investigate this a bit further" and also alert physicians to symptoms that may be relevant toward detecting and treating any clotting cases they might find.

Fauci told MSNBC's Chris Hayes on Tuesday that the decision to pause a treatment over a low number of adverse effects was "not at all unusual" in the medical community.

He said the decision might ultimately increase confidence in vaccines, as people would see concerns weren't being ignored: "Often when people are hesitant they say, 'I'm not really sure that this was really carefully looked at - is it really safe?' I think what you see happen today was the fact that safety was put right up front."

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