For most people all over the world, the Johnson & Johnson (J&J) brand has long been associated with trust. For a company with a history dating back over 135 years, their contributions to global health efforts are remarkable, both in terms of R&D and the overall impact of their pharmaceutical products.
In the face of the Covid-19 pandemic, the company was dragged into the race to find a long-term solution to the pandemic's devastating effects. J&J responded to this call not only by recruiting over 130,000 global employees but also by bringing over 135 years of pharmaceutical experience to bear. It is not surprising, then, that the J&J vaccine has received the WHO Emergency Use Listing (EUL) for trial use, demonstrating the company's deep commitment to global health.
However, because the trial vaccines appeared to have been rushed in the face of the pandemic's rising death toll, many questions have been raised about the safety and effectiveness of these vaccines that have received WHO emergency approval.
The following chemicals are found in the Janssen COVID-19 Vaccine: recombinant, replication-incompetent adenovirus type 26 encoding the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein, citric acid monohydrate, trisodium citrate dihydrate, ethanol, 2-hydroxypropyl—cyclodextrin (HBCD), polysorbate-80, sodium chloride.
While it may be a case of ‘all hands on deck,' it is still critical that the global community receive assurances that the J&J vaccine is safe and effective enough to help stave off the pandemic's cold hands of death. However, the vaccine appears to be in jeopardy in light of reports of blood clots with low platelet counts.
Although initially approved for use after demonstrating 85.4 percent efficacy against severe disease and in preventing Covid-19 hospitalization; a dose of Janssen Ad26.CoV2.S was found to be approximately 66.9 percent effective against symptomatic moderate and severe SARS-CoV-2 infection.
However, in April 2021, the US Food and Drug Administration recommended that the Johnson & Johnson vaccine be halted due to six women experiencing side effects that resulted in blood clots. The same side effect was reported with the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine.
While this may sound frightening in light of the uncertainties surrounding the Covid-19 pandemic, blood clots with low platelet counts do not appear to be a common occurrence, as countries that have reported the effect has not had more than 4 cases per million.
There is no doubt that research into the reported blood clot with low platelet counts is ongoing, not just by J&J for their Janssen Ad26.CoV2.S vaccine, but also by Oxford for their AstraZeneca vaccine, and other pharmaceutical companies for future vaccine development.
As the epidemic continues to claim hundreds of thousands of lives every day, and new varieties emerge, vaccination has become a top priority, making the dangers of blood clots with low platelet counts a minor inconvenience compared to the extremely high health risks of not being vaccinated.
Furthermore, every medical intervention carries some level of risk; as a result, it is critical for public health professionals to analyze the balance and properly communicate both the advantages and hazards to the general population.
The Covid-19's impact will be felt for many years to come. Nations are still debating how to deal with this monster, which has threatened to gobble up all we know as normal. Having the J&J Covid-19 vaccination on hand will undoubtedly be a blessing rather than a curse.
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