Update: Although not definitive, this study would seem to supply some evidence for my claim.
The pause on J&J shots because of an astronomically low risk rate is, I think, remarkably stupid. The chances of getting hit by lightning or winning the lottery are higher than the chance of a blood clot. Medicine always carries risks. The risks are typically much higher than 6 in one million. Although the American public might overrate such risks (they actually think the next ticket is the one that wins them the lottery), the “scientists” at the CDC should know better. Apparently, the people at the CDC are not much smarter than the American public; in fact, given that the American public at least has some common sense, they’re dumber. Yet, despite all evidence to the contrary, they are claiming science is on their side! Supposedly they did it to make people “feel better” about the vaccine when/if it reenters the market. I haven’t talked to one person who “feels better” about the shot because of it. I’ve talked to and seen many message boards/tweets of people who feel much worse about it now. Admittedly, my informal conversations and browsing of the web is also not science; but it is common sense. And their “science”, which contradicts most people’s common sense, has essentially taken J&J off the market. This whole “strategy” is too clever by half. And at a time when we desperately need vaccines going into arms.
This “expert’s” response to Nate Silver’s criticism says so much about an inherent problem of the “experts” illuminated by this episode. Rather than consulting common sense, she consults the supposed “science” which suggests people feel “more confident” about vaccines if you institute these sorts of pauses. Although it’s true that science has an important place in our politics, this kind of “science” is precisely what makes people not trust it. There are so few episodes of the distribution of a vaccine at record speed to a record amount of people that there’s no way science could have any reliable prediction as to what will happen to public psychology. Science depends partially on verifiable results through many repeated tests. We have none of that in this case. Thus, they’re making decisions based on what they predict will be the case with mass psychology. Although there’s some science in that, anyone who would say that they could be fully confident in those predictions is lying.
Isn’t it just as likely that the people, who tend to dramatically overrate risk, will be confirmed in their overrating by this pause? Further, based on this tenuous prediction in combination with an astronomically low risk rate, the CDC has halted the administering of millions of vaccines that will definitely save lives. The number of people who will die of Covid because of this pause in distribution is much higher than six. That we know with full certainty. Simple common sense reveals the stupidity of this decision. “Science,” despite what they might claim, doesn’t have the tools or the evidence, in this case, to refute simple common sense.