‘Extending the Johnson & Johnson Vaccine Pause for a Week Was a Deadly Mistake’

Govind Persad and William F. Parker, in an op-ed for The Washington Post:

Looking at ACIP’s roster helps diagnose its mistake. Its voting members are almost all doctors far more familiar with rare vaccine side effects than with marshaling scarce public health capacity to respond to a surge of infections. The committee lacks comparative effectiveness experts or health economists familiar with weighing inevitable tradeoffs at a population-wide scale. […]

What ACIP must provide, but likely never will, is an estimate of how many of the hundreds of thousands of Americans infected with covid-19 in the coming days could have been protected if J&J vaccines were available. The resulting hospitalizations and deaths, likely concentrated in disadvantaged communities, will happen weeks from now and will probably be ignored by the media. News stories will highlight blood clots following vaccination but not consider whether a one-dose vaccine could have protected a homeless person who arrived at the emergency room deathly ill from covid-19 or prevented an outbreak at her encampment. Without a comparison of the pause’s harms to the vaccine’s side effects, we have every reason to fear that ACIP loudly fiddled while Rome quietly burned.

The authors both have expertise in bioethics, which is the issue at hand.

Sunday, 18 April 2021