The Department of Homeland Security has begun administering the controversial Johnson & Johnson coronavirus vaccine to detainees at Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) facilities.
ICE said the decision was made to help increase vaccinations at the detention facilities, where nearly 20,000 coronavirus cases and nine related deaths have been recorded since the start of the pandemic, CNN reported.
DHS had received an initial allocation of 10,000 vaccine doses, with nationwide distribution underway, according to ICE.
The decision comes after three whistleblowers blasted the Biden administration for not doing enough to prevent the spread of the disease among nearly 28,000 immigrant detainees and not properly facilitating distribution of vaccines to the facilities.
Earlier this week, the Food and Drug Administration added a warning to the J&J vaccine, saying it can lead to an increased risk of a rare neurological condition known as Guillain–Barré syndrome.
Though the FDA said such instances are very rare, about 100 suspected cases reportedly have been identified among the nearly 13 million people who have received the shot.
The FDA also temporarily paused the distribution of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine in early April after concerns of a connection to a rare blood clotting condition, but rescinded the order less than two weeks later.
Meanwhile, Johnson & Johnson officials said its coronavirus vaccine is effective against the delta variant of the virus that health experts worry could cause another surge nationwide among the unvaccinated.
The company said last week that its one-dose shot defends against the variant, citing lab tests of vaccine recipients’ blood.
Company officials speculate the immune response may last more than eight months.

WI Guest Author

This correspondent is a guest contributor to The Washington Informer.

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