J&J pause shouldn't prompt vaccine hesitancy: Fauci

U.S. federal health agencies on Tuesday recommended pausing use of J&J's COVID-19 vaccine for at least a few days after six women under 50 developed rare blood clots after getting the shot.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, Biden's chief medical adviser, said on Wednesday that the pause should not prompt vaccine hesitancy.

"It should reinforce in those individuals how we take safety so seriously," Fauci said.

White House COVID-19 response coordinator Jeff Zients said the White House had taken action to speed up production and delivery schedules for Moderna Inc and Pfizer Inc vaccines in a bid to offset the pause in J&J dose shipments and maintain the pace of the United States' inoculation program.

He said J&J shots have so far made up less than 5% of the more than 190 million COVID-19 vaccine doses that have been administered in the United States.

Video Transcript

- I want to be clear that this announcement will not have a significant impact on our vaccination program. The J&J vaccine makes up less than 5% of the more than 190 million recorded shots in the arms in the US to date. Importantly, this means we have more than enough supply of Pfizer and Moderna vaccines to continue the current pace of vaccinations, meet the president's goal of 200 million shots by his 100th day in office, and continue to reach every adult who wants to be vaccinated by the end of May. We are working now with our state and federal partners to get anyone currently scheduled for a J&J vaccine quickly rescheduled for a Pfizer or Moderna vaccine.

ANTHONY FAUCI: This was done in an abundance of caution, to be able to take a look at the issues that Dr. Walensky delineated. Importantly, when I go out and try to counter the issues of hesitancy, a substantial proportion of the hesitancy is centered around concern that the vaccines might not be safe. The fact that following the EUA, we have continued to follow very carefully any possibility of adverse events, I believe, is the other side of the coin of hesitancy.

It should reinforce in those individuals how we take safety so seriously. So as opposed to looking at this as a negative safety issue, it could be looked at as a positive issue. Where they know that when we let a vaccine be available, and give it a go ahead to be put into the arms of the American people, we do it with a considerable degree of confidence as to its safety.