US Surgeon General touts vaccine safety amid Johnson & Johnson pause

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April Ryan
·3 min read
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Exclusive: During an interview with theGrio, US Surgeon General Vivek Murthy maintains that the COVID-19 vaccine can be trusted as the age eligibility expanded on Monday.

President Joe Biden touted the United States is on track to normalcy, and now today, the administration is expanding vaccine eligibility to people ages 16 and over in almost every state.

Half of the adults in the United States have already received at least one dose of a vaccine. Dr. Anthony Fauci on CNN Sunday said by the first quarter of 2022 school children may even be able to be vaccinated.

U.S. President Joe Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris, Coronavirus Response Coordinator Jeffrey Zients and Director of National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Dr. Anthony Fauci look on as a nurse gives a vaccine to Corey Hamilton, a firefighter EMT stationed at Engine Company 9 in Northwest DC, during an event commemorating the 50 million COVID-19 vaccine shot on February 25, 2021 at the South Court Auditorium of Eisenhower Executive Office Building in Washington, DC. (Photo by Doug Mills-Pool/Getty Images)
U.S. President Joe Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris, Coronavirus Response Coordinator Jeffrey Zients and Director of National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Dr. Anthony Fauci look on as a nurse gives a vaccine to Corey Hamilton, a firefighter EMT stationed at Engine Company 9 in Northwest DC, during an event commemorating the 50 million COVID-19 vaccine shot on February 25, 2021 at the South Court Auditorium of Eisenhower Executive Office Building in Washington, DC. (Photo by Doug Mills-Pool/Getty Images)

The expansion comes as twenty states are reporting increases in COVID-19 cases in part due to the new variant that is easier to contract than the original strain. Johns Hopkins University reports globally more than 3 million people have died from the virus. President Biden is scheduled to address COVID-19 and vaccination on Wednesday.

Read More: Fauci says he expects J&J vaccine to resume later this week

“We haven’t been able to hug the people we love and get together with them, but we have a pathway out of that. And that pathway is actually to get vaccinated,” Surgeon General Vivek Murthy told theGrio in an exclusive interview. “[The vaccine] was tested very rigorously and not just by a company, but that data was evaluated by scientists, independent scientists and government, by independent scientists outside of government.”

The surgeon general said his trust in the vaccine is largely based on being vaccinated himself along with his family. But though he is now protected by the vaccine, he said he experienced personal loss to COVID-19 earlier in the pandemic. Murthy has lost friends and family including seven people in the states and in India.

Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy
Dr. Vivek Murthy, President-elect Joe Biden’s pick to be U.S. surgeon general, speaks during a news conference at the Queen Theater December 08, 2020 in Wilmington, Delaware. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

“People who were vaccinated have seen a dramatic decrease in rates of infection,” Murthy said. “In nursing homes, for example, where we made a real effort to vaccinate people we saw deaths really drop.”

Recently, before the Johnson & Johnson vaccination pause, the hope was for herd immunity through vaccination by late summer or early fall. An option currently considered is using Johnson & Johnson on a restrictive basis by age and/or gender.

Dr. Fauci is hopeful for an answer by Friday on whether the J&J vaccine will be used with targeted distribution or halt altogether. Six individuals out of a population of six million people developed rare blood clots after their vaccination with the one-dose Johnson and Johnson. One person died from the rare occurrence.

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The post US Surgeon General touts vaccine safety amid Johnson & Johnson pause appeared first on TheGrio.