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Local vaccine expert is confident about COVID-19 vaccine safety

Published: Apr. 14, 2021 at 5:31 PM CDT
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BRYAN, Texas (KBTX) - “I believe the vaccines are safe and extraordinarily effective,” Dr. Gerald Parker said. “And I still believe that.”

Parker is a member of the Texas Experts Vaccine Allocation Panel and the Director of the Texas A&M Bush School of Government and Public Service’s Scowcroft Institute Pandemic and Biosecurity program. He says the pause on the use of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine is not overly alarming. In fact, he says it’s reassured him of the sophisticated system in place that alerted experts to a possible problem.

“It is, to me, a signal that our safety systems are working,” Parker said.

The system picked up on the possibility that the Johnson & Johnson vaccine could possibly have caused blood clots in six women ages 18 to 48. While that’s still unconfirmed, that would represent a rate of 1 in 1,140,000. According to the CDC, the odds of being struck by lightning in a given year are around 1 in 500,000, less than half the chance of the reported data.

Parker said it’s the right move by both the CDC and the FDA to pause the use of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine while researchers get a complete understanding of what’s happening.

“We don’t know if there’s a link,” Parker explained, “but we need to understand whether or not there is.”

Watch the full interview in the player above.

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