Despite repeated claims they’re committed to transparency, Johnson & Johnson and the US Food and Drug Administration still aren’t revealing crucial details one week after the pharmaceutical giant’s Covid-19 vaccine trial went on pause.Public health experts have encouraged transparency in the Covid-19 vaccine clinical trials, considering that hundreds of millions of Americans will eventually be asked to roll up their sleeves and take a vaccine.
The Johnson & Johnson trial was put on hold October 12 due to a study participant’s “unexplained illness,” according to a company statement last week. Johnson & Johnson voluntarily stopped enrolling study participants while the illness is being reviewed by an independent monitoring board.The company and the FDA declined to answer two questions from CNN: One, whether the study volunteer who became ill received the vaccine or the placebo, and two, if this is the first pause for the trial.
The answers to both questions are critical to understanding what this participant’s illness might mean for the safety of a vaccine.Dr. Paul Offit, a member of an FDA advisory committee that will review the vaccines, said Johnson & Johnson should answer these basic questions.