Governor Chris Sununu is criticizing the federal government’s decision to halt the distribution of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, part of his ongoing attacks on how Washington has “mishandled” COVID issues. Those attacks have raised the hackles of Granite State Democrats, who dismiss his complaints as political posturing in advance of a U.S. Senate run next year.
At Thursday’s weekly COVID-19 press conference, Sununu called out the Biden administration for abruptly pulling plug the after just six cases of blood clotting among more than 7 million vaccinations.
“This was a one-in-a-million event. You’re twice as likely to be struck by lightning than you are with the current data about getting this blood clot,” Sununu said. “So [for] those six individuals, that’s a very severe case, but to stop an entire vaccine — the most popular vaccine for the biggest public health crisis this country has faced in a hundred years — is a pretty extreme step.”
“The communication out of Washington has been terrible, like it really has been horrible,” Sununu continued, adding he learned about the decision from the media, not the Biden administration.
Sununu’s comments echoed his message in a private call between senior White House officials and state governors.
“I think what has to be appreciated is the ability for governors to reinstill confidence after something like this, is one hundred times harder than putting the pause on in the first place,” Sununu said in an audio recording of the call obtained by ABC News.
Sununu is hardly alone. Multiple medical authorities have condemned the CDC’s decision, noting that it will both leave some Americans unvaccinated and, worse, will increase vaccine hesitancy among people already reluctant to get a shot.
Dr. Ashish Jha is dean of the Brown University School of Public Health and an advisor to the CDC.
“Nearly all the adverse events are in women 18-49 years old. Cerebral Venous Sinus Thrombosis (CVST), the clot seen with J&J, is known to be more common in young women. Suggests that young women probably the group at high risk,” the doctor tweeted. “Keeping vaccine paused for everyone makes little sense. Risk-benefit keeping vaccine paused for everyone WAY off.”
UNH political science professor Dr. Dante Scala had a simple answer when NHJournal asked if attacking DC will be a theme of a future Sununu campaign for the U.S. Senate.
“Is the sky blue?” he responded via text, accompanied by a smiley emoji.