On Tuesday, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommended a “pause” on the administration of the Johnson & Johnson one-shot COVID-19 vaccine after six of the 6.8 million people who have received the vaccine experienced blood clotting issues. They were reportedly all women between the ages of 18 and 48.
President Trump slammed the Biden administration’s decision. “The Biden Administration did a terrible disservice to people throughout the world by allowing the FDA and CDC to call a ‘pause’ in the use of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine,” Trump said in a statement. “The results of this vaccine have been extraordinary but now [its] reputation will be permanently challenged.”
“The people who have already taken the vaccine will be up in arms, and perhaps all of this was done for politics or perhaps it’s the FDA’s love for Pfizer,” Trump added.
But Trump isn’t the only one criticizing the decision to pull the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. Famed pollster Nate Silver says that the costs of pulling the vaccine may outweigh the benefits of doing so, and argued that the decision “is going to get people killed.”
“It’s going to create more vaccine hesitancy,” Silver tweeted. “These people don’t understand cost-benefit analysis. They keep making mistakes by orders of magnitude.”
Silver also seemed to agree with Trump’s suggestion that there may have been a political motive behind the decision.
“Why did the FDA recommend the pause anyway?” asked Silver. “Because of a combination of institutional culture, cognitive biases, and bureaucratic imperatives incentives, they greatly overweight the importance of rare adverse effects relative to people dying from COVID.”
“Say there’s a 1 in 100 chance someone acquires COVID because of a delayed vaccine (maybe conservative in the US where spread is still quite high) and a 1 in 150 chance they die from it. That’s a 1 in 15,000 chance vs. 1 blood clot death in 7,000,000 doses so far,” Silver explained.
“We also have to consider that the person who gets COVID because of a delayed vaccine will pass her case along to an average of 1 other person…. So the death rate is actually twice as high as I indicated above,” he added.
Like Trump, Silver has also been critical of Dr. Fauci, whom he recently accused of gaslighting on COVID transmission by vaccinated people.