One Virologist Says More Blood Clot Cases Likely To Surface As J&J Vaccine Is Investigated
On today's program: A virologist and epidemiologist explains why a pause in administering Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccines is reasonable as we learn more about the side effects; the Pennsylvania Department of Education will use a near-million dollar grant to research how the pandemic is affecting student outcomes; and how the Biden administration’s climate-friendly infrastructure plan could impact fossil-fuel workers, and what a worker transition would look like.
Johnson & Johnson vaccine side effects will be investigated
(0:00 — 6:47)
A pause continues in the administration of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine after at least six women between 18 and 48 years old suffered blood clots within three weeks of inoculation. One woman has died.
About 7 million doses of the vaccine have been administered, meaning the confirmed cases of blood clots happened to fewer than one in a million people who received the vaccine. However, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine virologist and epidemiologist Dr. Patrick Moore says it’s important these rare side effects are investigated.
“The vaccines were allowed to be administered under Emergency Use Authorization, and as part of that authorization, everyone involved had to convince the American public that while we didn’t have all of the information that we needed, we had as much as we could get in order to release the vaccines,” says Moore.
Moore adds that vaccines go to healthy people, unlike other curative medicine, so it’s imperative the side effects of a vaccine aren’t putting more people in danger or at risk of health complications.
Moore says at the moment, the FDA and CDC are likely looking for more cases of blood clots, and gathering information about the existing cases of blood clots.
“It’s hard to see right now whether this [blood clots] is enough signal that rises above the noise that we should have concerns about it, but it’s appropriate to pause and then to restart again,” Moore says.
A grant to the state Department of Education will suggest ways to mitigate student impacts from the pandemic
(6:59 — 12:55)
The pandemic undoubtedly impacted the ability for K-12 students to learn over the past year, and there’s concern what this means for those kids, long term.
The Pennsylvania Department of Education will be using a nearly million dollar federal grant to study that impact, and make recommendations on how to support students in the years to come.
“So, [we’re] looking at implications for academic progression on social-emotional wellness, and on high school completion for those students for whom we can track them that far,”says Rosemary Hughes.
She’s a special adviser on school improvement with the Pennsylvania Department of Education, and principal investigator on this study. “We’re also hoping to learn how the experiences over the last year may have impacted recruitment and retention strategies for educators.”
Hughes says the study will also look at outcomes by demographics, for example ethnicity, gender, socioeconomic status, English learners, students experiencing housing insecurity, and those in the juvenile justice or child welfare systems.
She says that some possible suggestions the study may make to support students are wider tutoring services, and incorporating more trauma-informed services into education.
“This project will help us kind of ground some of the assumptions that are contributing to our work right now,” says Hughes.
Union workers worry about how the Biden infrastructure plan will affect them
(13:05 — 18:00)
President Biden is selling the climate-friendly aspects of his $2 trillion infrastructure plan as a chance to create well-paying, union jobs. That involves convincing his party’s traditional allies--labor unions, that dealing with climate change will be good for workers.
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