by Martin Kulldorff
The rapid development of several effective vaccines is one of the few scientific success stories of the COVID-19 pandemic. Unfortunately, the recent “pause” on using the Johnson & Johnson vaccine will dampen the impact of this success. Many older people are still waiting for the vaccine, both here and abroad. The pause will unnecessarily reduce the supply of vaccines, leading to additional deaths.
Before the pandemic, I helped design parts of the system that the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) use to detect and evaluate vaccine side effects. Once a side effect has been identified, public health scientists and regulators must also consider the disease’s risk and harms and patient characteristics.