Take 2: Vaccine pause, Afghanistan withdrawal

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Hannah Gonzalez

The Take 2 series features brief weekly updates on the state or nation’s relevant news for the community.

J&J Vaccine Halt: The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) called for a pause in administering the Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccine. Six women, between the ages of 18 and 48, reported a “rare and severe” blood clot nearly two weeks after receiving the vaccine. They announced on Wednesday of a seventh woman who had a blood clot, though not in the brain like the other six cases. 7.2 million does of the J&J vaccine have been administered, with 10 million more shipped out. 

Significance: The CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices met on Wednesday and decided they did not have enough information to make a decision regarding how to move forward with the J&J vaccine. They voted to reconvene in a week, meaning the halt of the vaccine will remain in effect. There are debates on how to approach the issue with some committee members having different recommendations on the timeline of the halt, some wanting more time and data to make a decision, and others looking at only giving the vaccine to certain age groups and risk factors. 

Afghanistan Troops: President Joe Biden announced Wednesday that, by Sept. 11, 2021, he will pull out all remaining U.S. troops in Afghanistan. Biden said that “no amount” of U.S. troops can stop the Taliban or the war. Jens Stoltenberg, the NATO chief, will also pull out the alliance’s 7,000 troops. 

Significance: This is Biden’s effort to end the “forever war” in Afghanistan, though it is a promise that the last four presidents made. In the two decades that U.S. troops have been stationed there, 2,300 military lives were lost and $2 trillion was spent. Former President Donald Trump set the deadline for troop removal as May 1 in a peace agreement with the Taliban. Under the current administration, the withdrawal will begin around May 1, rather than end.