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Decision likely by Friday on resuming Johnson & Johnson vaccine, Fauci says

Dr. Anthony Fauci testifies at the Capitol last

Dr. Anthony Fauci testifies at the Capitol last week.  Credit: AP / Susan Walsh

Federal agencies will likely decide by Friday whether use of the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine can resume, Dr. Anthony Fauci, chief medical adviser to President Joe Biden, said Sunday.

The United States last week recommended a "pause" in the New Jersey-based drugmaker's vaccine so that government agencies could review a handful of episodes of dangerous blood clots in women ages 18 to 48.

Fauci, who appeared on multiple Sunday morning news shows, said if the Johnson & Johnson vaccine resumes Friday, federal agencies might include warnings or apply restrictions. But it's unlikely there will be an outright ban of the vaccine, he said.

"I would think that we're not going to go beyond Friday in the expansion of this pause," Fauci said on ABC News’ "This Week."

He continued, "I don’t think ... [they] are going to completely cancel ... [J&J] because the data or such, at least from what we see, they’re looking to see if there are more cases. But … as we’ve said so many times, it’s an extraordinarily rare event."

Fauci said there might be "some restrictions" if the Johnson & Johnson vaccines resume, adding that he was "not sure what that will be, whether they’ll be age or sex or whether they’ll just come back with a warning of some sort."

Of the likelihood that use of the drugmaker's vaccine will start up again, he said: "I believe that it will be back with some sort of indication, a little bit different than we were before the pause."

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After the federal government recommended the pause last Tuesday, many states, including New York, also halted administering Johnson & Johnson vaccines.

Fauci said the Centers for Disease Control and U.S. Food and Drug Administration wanted to make sure they weren't "missing something" as health experts study the blood clotting.

He added that health experts might say by late summer or early fall if Americans will need vaccine booster shots, and when.

"I think by the end of the summer, the beginning of the fall we'll know," he said. "We'll have a pretty good idea whether we'll need the boost."

Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla said recently it is "likely" that individuals who received both doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine will probably need a third booster within a year.

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