Almost 20% of unvaccinated Americans still prefer J&J Covid vaccine after U.S. pause, survey shows

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CNBC 04 May, 2021 - 10:51am 17 views

Fewer Americans say they prefer the Johnson & Johnson Covid-19 vaccine after the U.S. temporarily paused its use in April, but 17% of Americans in a new survey still say it's their top choice.

That's down from 29% in March, before the pause, according to consecutive surveys of more than 1,500 Americans done for CNBC by global data and survey firm Dynata.

The pause, from April 13 to 23, was recommended while U.S. regulators investigated rare but severe cases of blood clots tied to the vaccine. The Food and Drug Administration and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended reinstating the vaccine's use after a CDC advisory group concluded the benefits of the shot outweigh its risk, while warning the clot risk is higher for women under age 50.

"It's only one shot, and it's a brand name which is well-known," Mark Levine, a New York City councilmember who chairs the city's Council Committee on Health, said in an interview after the CDC advisory vote April 23. "I've certainly talked to people who have told me that they were waiting to get a vaccine until J&J came back onto the market."

The Dynata survey, taken April 24-27, showed that more people said they preferred the Pfizer vaccine after the J&J pause; Pfizer as a top choice went from 20% in March to 35% in April. Moderna's vaccine went from 10% as top choice in March to 17% in April, and those who said they'd prefer either of those vaccines, which are both two doses and use the same messenger RNA technology, was relatively unchanged at 12 to 13%.

Unsurprisingly, given the blood clot risk is higher for women, their preference for the J&J vaccine declined most, to 14% in April from 28% in March, compared with a decline to 21% from 29% for men.

The J&J pause happened just as daily vaccinations peaked in the U.S, at more than 3 million shots administered on average per day. Monday, the U.S. recorded 1.2 million shots administered, the lowest number since February, according to Evercore ISI data.

Local officials, though, told CNBC it was difficult to distinguish how much the pause affected vaccination rates, as appointments were already starting to go unfilled around the same time.

"In some ways, we've gone through the people that were just so eager to get it and they wanted it, you know, yesterday," Harris County, Texas Judge Lina Hidalgo said in a telephone interview April 19.

The number of Americans who say they don't plan to get a vaccine or are undecided went down slightly from March to April, the Dynata surveys found. Those who don't plan to get vaccinated declined from 13% to 12%, while those on the fence went from 6.8% to 5.6%.

Asked what would make them more likely to get a vaccine, 37% said more science backing up the vaccines' safety and efficacy, while 31% said more time to feel better about long-term effects. Just 8.1% said they'd be persuaded if an employer required vaccination.

Many colleges and universities have said they'll require students get vaccinated to come to campus in the fall, and Dynata's survey found just more than half of respondents age 18 to 24 agreed vaccine mandates at schools are a good idea. Just more than a quarter opposed them.

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Ionia Co. woman’s death after getting J&J vaccine reported to the CDC

Fox17 31 December, 1969 - 06:00pm

IONIA COUNTY, Mich. — An Ionia family is mourning the death of a wife and mother after they say she died due to complications after receiving the Johnson & Johnson coronavirus vaccine.

The family of 35-year-old Anne VanGeest released a statement following her death on April 19.

“It is with profound sadness that we share the news of Anne’s passing as the result of complications after receiving the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine. Anne (Annie), who was 35, was a loving mother, wife, sister and daughter. An active member in the animal rescue community, Annie will be remembered as a fierce advocate, a master-multi-tasker and a caring friend by her colleagues, fellow volunteers and family. We ask for privacy for her family as they mourn Annie’s passing and celebrate her life.”

In an email to the VanGeest family, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) confirmed her death had been reported through the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) by a healthcare provider. VAERS is a vaccine safety system managed by the CDC and the FDA.

“VAERS accepts reports of possible side effects (also called “adverse events”) following vaccination. The system is not designed to determine whether a reported adverse event was caused by the vaccine, but serves as an early warning system and helps CDC and FDA identify areas for further study,” the CDC explained in the email. “When VAERS receives reports of serious illness or death after vaccination, VAERS staff contact the hospital where the patient was treated to obtain the associated medical records to better understand the adverse event.”

VanGeest died on April 19. According to her family, VanGeest received the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine 11 days before her death.

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WOODTV.com 03 May, 2021 - 02:10pm

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — The family of an Ionia-area wife and mother says she died due to complications after receiving the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine. 

Anne VanGeest, 35, died April 19 at Mercy Health Saint Mary’s in Grand Rapids. 

“It is with profound sadness that we share the news of Anne’s passing as the result of complications after receiving the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine,” her family said in a Thursday morning statement released through a Grand Rapids public relations firm.

The statement from a representative of VanGeest’s family stopped short of saying she died from the J&J vaccine, instead saying she died “as the result of complications after (emphasis added) receiving the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine.”

The statement went on to describe VanGeest as a “loving mother, wife, sister and daughter.” 

“An active member of the animal rescue community, Annie will be remembered as a fierce advocate, a master-multi-tasker and a caring friend by her colleagues, fellow volunteers and family,” read the statement.  

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed to VanGeest’s family that her death was reported through the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS), a vaccine safety system managed by the CDC and FDA.

“We did receive a VAERS report concerning (Anne’s) case. It was filed by her healthcare provider,” wrote a member of the CDC Immunization Safety Office in an email exchange with one of VanGeest’s relatives.

“VAERS accepts reports of possible side effects (also called ‘adverse events’) following vaccination. The system is not designed to determine whether a reported adverse event was caused by the vaccine, but serves as an early warning system and helps CDC and FDA identify areas for further study. When VAERS receives reports of serious illness or death after vaccination, VAERS staff contact the hospital where the patient was treated to obtain the associated medical records to better understand the adverse event. They do not routinely contact the family.”

Neither the FDA nor the CDC would confirm to News 8 that it’s investigating Van Geest’s death.

When Target 8 reached out to Johnson & Johnson last week, it provided a statement in response but did not directly address VanGeest’s case:

VanGeest’s family said she received the vaccine April 8. She later developed a persistent headache, which is one of the symptoms reported in women under 50 who suffered a rare complication of the J&J vaccine.  

On April 13, the CDC ordered a pause in the administration of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine after six reports of a “rare and severe type of blood clot,” called cerebral venous sinus thrombosis or CVST.  

Federal health officials have recorded 15 complaints of J&J vaccine recipients — mostly women under the age of 50 — who developed dangerous blood clots. Three died. But with more than 8 million doses administered, federal health officials decided last week that the benefits of the vaccine outweighed the risks and lifted an 11-day pause on administration of the shot. Younger women who are concerned about the J&J shot can look for opportunities to get Pfizer or Moderna instead.

Anne VanGeest’s death certificate lists the manner of death as “natural” and the cause as “acute subarachnoid hemorrhage non-traumatic,” which is described as “bleeding in the area between the brain and the thin tissues that cover it.”

University of Michigan Dr. Geoff Barnes, who was not involved in VanGeest’s care and has no knowledge of the circumstances surrounding her death, told News 8 that a “subarachnoid hemorrhage” can occur as a result of the J&J complication.

Barnes explained what federal investigators found in the rare blood-clotting cases connected to the J&J vaccine.  

“(The patients) developed a blood clot in one of the veins that drained out of the brain, but in addition they also were found to have really low platelet counts,” he told News 8. “(Low platelets) is one of the elements in blood that helps it clot. And so these patients were at risk for both bleeding and clotting.”

Barnes said the patients developed the clotting complication between four and 28 days after receiving the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

According to the CDC, symptoms of the potentially fatal complication may include:

“It’s really critical that health care providers be aware that this condition exists even though it’s exceedingly rare. Because we need to know how to step in and diagnose it, and how to treat it appropriately,” said Dr. Barnes, who noted that the CDC and FDA have developed specific steps to guide health care providers in the diagnosis and treatment of such cases.  

Metro Health – University of Michigan announced Monday that it’s not administering the Johnson & Johnson vaccine to women under 50 “as an extra precaution.”

Barnes noted the one-dose J&J vaccine is particularly useful for people who don’t have ready access to health care and might not be able to return for a second dose.

News 8 asked Barnes if he would recommend the J&J vaccine to women under age 50.

“If I had a family member, a younger family member who was a woman who told me that she was really concerned about having to go get two shots, but was willing to get one shot, then I would absolutely encourage her to go and get the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. I think the risk here is exceedingly small,” he replied. “The risks associated with getting COVID-19 and the many different things that it can do to our body, those are much higher. That’s the thing I’m far more concerned about, so I would definitely support a family member who told me that they wanted to get the Johnson & Johnson vaccine because of convenience or access. I would absolutely support them doing that.”

While VanGeest lived in Ionia County’s Easton Township, her death certificate was filed in Kent County because she died at Mercy Health Saint Mary’s in Grand Rapids.

GoFundMe account to help cover funeral expenses and support VanGeest’s family says she left behind four children. It recalled her as an animal lover. It says she worked at C-Snip, which provides spaying and neutering for pets, and volunteered with Carol’s Ferals.

The statement from VanGeest’s family asked for privacy as they mourn the wife and mother’s death and celebrate her life.  

It suggested memorial contributions in Annie’s name may be made to C-Snip and LuvnPupz of Grand Rapids.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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The Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs has suspended and issued a notice of intent to revoke the license of Melanie Williams, effective April 30, it said in a Tuesday release. She had a child care center in her home off of Division Avenue near M-6.

It was found around 9:15 a.m. by a California Department of Transportation worker who was part of a crew conducting routine maintenance, the California Highway Patrol said in a news release.

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Which of the four approved COVID-19 vaccines should you get? Canada’s expert panel says, ‘That depends ...’

Toronto Star 03 May, 2021 - 12:00am

OTTAWA—You would be forgiven for thinking this whole vaccine rollout business is confusing, Canada, because it is. Chaotic, confusing and contradictory.

Questions about COVID-19 vaccinations — Where to get a first shot? How long to wait for a second shot? Does your second dose need to be the same vaccine as your first? Which restrictions will ease once you are vaccinated? — are all taking on new urgency as the national rollout picks up speed this week.

Adding to the confusion, the National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) said Monday that Johnson & Johnson’s single-dose Janssen vaccine, like AstraZeneca’s double-dose vaccine, is safe for use by people over 30 if they can’t wait for one of the two “preferred” vaccines, the mRNA made shots by Pfizer and Moderna.

All four vaccines are approved by Health Canada as safe and effective for people aged 18 and over, based on clinical trial evidence.

But as millions of vaccines were jabbed into arms, the “real-world” picture shifted slightly for the viral vector vaccines made by AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson.

Reports of very rare blood clots showed up in Europe for AstraZeneca, then in the U.S. with Janssen, first at a rate of one in a million, now at an estimated rate of about 1 in 100,000 cases, said NACI vice-chair Dr. Shelley Deeks.

“What we’re saying — and what we’ve been saying all along — is that mRNA vaccines are the preferred vaccines.”

After reviewing the latest data, NACI recommends that provinces continue to administer the Janssen and AstraZeneca vaccines if the benefits outweigh the risks: it says both will reduce the chances of severe illness, hospitalization and death. And in a country where COVID-19 is still rampant, vaccines were slow to arrive and variants have taken hold, the benefits outweigh the risks of developing a rare but serious blood clotting condition called vaccine-induced immune thrombotic thrombocytopenia or VITT, the NACI concluded.

It cautioned that in age groups younger than 30, “the benefit of offering a viral vector COVID-19 vaccine instead of waiting for an mRNA vaccine is not a certainty, especially in areas of very low COVID-19 activity.

“On the other hand, the advantages of highly efficacious mRNA COVID-19 vaccines, with no safety signals of concern to date, clearly outweigh any possible disadvantages for most populations, and NACI made a strong recommendation for the preferential use of mRNA COVID-19 vaccines in all authorized age groups.”

NACI says it is now up to provinces to decide who should get priority access to which vaccines, said Deeks and NACI chair Dr. Caroline Quach-Thanh.

But individuals should also make an “informed choice” or individual risk assessment too, based on the prevalence of the virus in their communities and their exposure to it, along with an assessment of “their risk tolerance for an adverse event” – meaning a blood clot, said Deeks.

Individuals can decide “whether they’d prefer to get vaccinated sooner or wait to receive an mRNA vaccine,” she said.

“For instance if someone is working from home, not really going out in a province or territory where there’s not much disease, then they’re in a very different situation than somebody that works in, let’s say, a manufacturing plant, has difficulty wearing PPE and so in a province that has a very high burden of disease. So the risk benefit is very provincially dependent as well as group dependent.”

It is a definite change of tack from the public health message Canadians have heard since last December: from, “Get the first vaccine you’re offered,” to, “It would be nice to wait for an mRNA vaccine if you can — and if you can’t, the other ones are fine too.”

“There is so much confusion. It is a nightmare,” said global health epidemiologist Raywat Deonandan at the University of Ottawa.

By delivering advice without a clear and coherent message about how provinces will follow up, NACI is contributing to a “messaging fiasco,” Deonandan said.

The members of the vaccine advisory committee “seems to feel that it’s not their job to manage public expectations or behaviour or response,” he said. “And I understand that, but we’re in a new dynamic now where it is kind of everyone’s job to keep that in mind.”

NACI said it views the two mRNA vaccines as “preferred” because they have shown no “safety signal.”

But the risk with the mRNA vaccines “is not zero,” Deonandan pointed out. “It’s just that there are sufficiently large signals in the other two to warrant this concern.”

Many doctors and epidemiologists say the confusion around whether Canadians should take the first vaccine on offer or wait for a “preferred” one may contribute to even more vaccine hesitancy, especially among certain vulnerable populations who should be a priority to get vaccinated quickly.

“I’m really surprised they’d go this route, to be honest, to say the mRNA is better,” said Deonandan. “The thing about Johnson & Johnson that makes it so important is that it’s a one-shot vaccine, it’s easily stored and easily transported. And for populations like the homeless, or nomadic people, or migrant workers, this is our best shot because scheduling a followup dose will be very difficult for that population.

“And now the hesitancy in that population is going to be ratcheted up if they’re going to be told they’re getting the second-class vaccine,” he said. “So this is also an equity issue.”

For now, it may not matter — there will soon be several million more mRNA vaccine doses in the mix. Starting this week, Pfizer-BioNTech is ramping up its weekly Canadian deliveries to two million doses, and increasing them to 2.4 million doses a week in June.

Moderna is promising to resume bigger shipments to try to reach its planned target of 12.3 million doses for the second quarter, after it hit delays last month, with more than one million expected next week.

Meanwhile, questions remain about vaccine shipments from AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson.

On Friday, the federal government put a hold on Canada’s first shipment of 300,000 Janssen vaccine doses due to concerns the batch might contain an ingredient that came from a U.S. facility where authorities have red-flagged production problems.

More than two million AstraZeneca doses have already been delivered in Canada — and at least 1.7 million administered — but Canada’s supply is currently constrained by export restrictions in both India and the U.S. and it is not clear when the millions more doses that have been ordered will actually arrive.

At Queen’s Park, Health Minister Christine Elliott said the major influx of Pfizer vaccine doses may make it possible to shorten the anticipated four-month delay between first and second shots, and that people with second appointments would be notified individually should that become reality.

“We are prepared to do that,” she told reporters.

Dr. Barbara Yaffe, the province’s associate chief medical officer of health, said Ontario has asked NACI for a recommendation by mid-May on whether the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines could be used for second doses on people who have received first shots of AstraZeneca vaccine.

“Likely they will recommend that it is safe and effective to use a different vaccine for the second shot if you cannot get the same one you got in the first one,” she said, adding that such mixing of vaccines has been done in the United Kingdom and other countries.

NACI said Monday that there will be enough mRNA vaccine doses available to fully vaccinate all Canadians by the fall, echoing Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s timelines.

It said pregnant women should be offered a full series of an mRNA vaccine after reviewing data and concerns about the difficulties of treating a blood clot in pregnancy, should one occur. NACI points to preliminary analysis of 35,691 pregnant women in the United States who received an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine, which “did not reveal any obvious safety signals.”

NACI said that if a blood clot were to occur after receipt of a viral vector vaccine, it would mean “increased complexity in the medical care” of the pregnant woman.

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