Fauci says he expects fast decision on J&J shots

Half of US adults have received at least one COVID-19 shot

Advisers to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention plan to meet this coming Friday to discuss the pause in Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccine, and the top U.S. infectious disease expert says he’d be “very surprised if we don’t have a resumption in some form by Friday.”

Dr. Anthony Fauci said Sunday that “a decision almost certainly will be made by Friday. I don’t really anticipate that they’re going to want it stretch it out a bit longer.”

Fauci tells CBS’ “Face the Nation” that one possibility would be to bring the one-and-done shots back “with some form of restrictions or some form of warning. …I believe by Friday we’re going to know the answer to that.”

The Johnson & Johnson vaccine is in limbo in the U.S. after federal health advisers said last week they needed more evidence to decide if a handful of unusual blood clots were linked to the shot -- and if so, how big the risk is.

The reports are rare -- six cases out of more than 7 million inoculations with the J&J vaccine in the United States. The clots were found in six women between the ages of 18 and 48. One person died.

Fauci told NBC’s “Meet the Press” that “I doubt very seriously if they just cancel it. I don’t think that’s going to happen.”

Also on Sunday, the government announced half of all adults in the U.S. have received at least one COVID-19 shot.

Almost 130 million people 18 or older have received at least one dose of a vaccine, or 50.4% of the total adult population, the CDC reported. Almost 84 million adults, or about 32.5% of the population, have been fully vaccinated.

There have been 3.5 million shots in arms since Saturday, bringing the seven-day average to 3.2 million doses per day.

News4Jax on Sunday talked with a few people who are now fully vaccinated. They’re relieved that many people around them are as well.

Bayer White received his second dose of the Pfizer vaccine on Sunday at the federally-supported vaccination site at Gateway Mall. He said he’s excited to socialize with friends again.

“A couple of my friends and I said we weren’t going to hang out until were fully vaccinated,” White said.

When the CDC and the Food and Drug Administration recommended a pause in the use of the J&J vaccine just a week after federally-supported sites in Florida, including the one at the Gateway Mall, had switched to only using J&J shots for first doses, public health officials were left scrambling for an alternative. But now the state is planning to move forward with administering first doses of the Pfizer vaccine at the federally-supported vaccination sites in the state, starting Tuesday. Until then, the Gateway site is only offering second doses of the Pfizer vaccine.

The Florida Department of Health reported Sunday that more than 300,000 people have gotten at least one COVID-19 shot in Duval County.

More than 5 million people in Florida are fully vaccinated, according to the state Department of Health.

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