Despite Fauci's confidence in the J&J shot following a pause, early polling shows Americans are now more hesitant to take it than Pfizer's or Moderna's

  • 41% percent of Americans said the J&J vaccine is “very or somewhat unsafe,” per a new ABC News poll.
  • The US paused the J&J vaccine rollout on April 13. Doctors warned it could hurt confidence in shots.
  • Anthony Fauci said the pause will ultimately boost American confidence in vaccines.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

The US said the decision to pause federal rollout of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine would not hurt American trust in vaccines — but early polling suggests otherwise.

Forty-one percent of Americans believe the Johnson & Johnson vaccine is “very or somewhat unsafe,” according to a survey by ABC News and Langer Research Associates. Roughly the same amount — or 46% of Americans — said they consider J&J’s vaccine “very or somewhat safe.” 

In contrast, 73% of Americans consider the COVID-19 vaccines produced by pharma giant Pfizer as “safe,” and 71% said they consider the Moderna vaccine safe.

The survey randomly sampled 1,007 adults in the US. The responses were collected over the phone between April 18 to April 21 in English and Spanish.

The US paused the federal rollout of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Food and Drug Administration reported rare blood clots in six people who got the shot.

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When asked about whether the decision to pause J&J’s vaccine rollout increased hesitancy to take the shot, White House chief medical office Anthony Fauci told ABC: “I don’t think that’s ultimately going to be the case …  I think in the long run what we’re going to see — we’ll probably see it soon — is that people will realize that we take safety very seriously.”

Doctors previously told Insider the benefits of receiving a vaccine greatly exceed the rare side effects, and said the pause would diminish American confidence in vaccines. 

The one-dose, easy to store Johnson & Johnson vaccine also helped vulnerable Americans — like those in rural areas and those without homes — to easily get the shot. The pause ultimately forced shutdowns of vaccine clinics in rural places, and slowed the pace of rollouts in prisons, Insider’s Aria Bendix reported.

The country resumed use of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine on April 23, but added a warning about the rare risk of clots in women under the age of 50.

President Joe Biden stood by his decision to pause the J&J vaccine, and told the press on April 13 his administration’s decision would ultimately boost American confidence in vaccines.

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“We will collaborate with health authorities around the world to educate healthcare professionals and the public to ensure this very rare event can be identified early and treated effectively,” Paul Stoffels, chief scientific officer at Johnson & Johnson, said in a release. The company had no additional comment to provide Insider.

The White House was not immediately available for comment. 

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