Rep. Jim Walsh issues statement on FDA’s recent vaccine announcement

On Thursday, May 5, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced that it was strictly limiting how a COVID-19 therapeutic drug developed by Janssen BioTech, a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson (J&J), can be administered to people in the United States.

The Janssen therapeutic, commonly known as the J&J vaccine, has been a popular choice because it requires only one intravenous injection, instead of the multiple shots required by other therapeutics.

The reason for the new limits, according to the FDA, is the ongoing risk of serious blood clots among people receiving the shot.

In the wake of last week's FDA announcement, 19th District state Rep. Jim Walsh, R-Aberdeen, has called on the governor to end his emergency mandate requiring state employees and other workers to provide proof they have received COVID shots in order to keep their jobs. And, Walsh added, if the governor did not act appropriately, the Legislature should step in.

Walsh issued the following statement regarding the FDA's announcement:

“The blood clot issue isn't new. Local health care providers and agencies started reporting the side effects last year—in connection with the J&J shot and a similar therapeutic, not approved for use in the U.S., made by another company.

“Symptoms of the clots include severe headaches a week or two after receiving the shot, abdominal pain, and nausea. The FDA and other regulators have also noted some connection between the shots and a neurological reaction called Guillain-Barré syndrome.

“An excerpt from the agency's announcement states that 'After conducting an updated analysis, evaluation and investigation of reported cases, the FDA has determined that the risk of thrombosis with thrombocytopenia syndrome (TTS), a syndrome of rare and potentially life-threatening blood clots in combination with low levels of blood platelets with the onset of symptoms approximately one to two weeks following administration…warrants limiting the authorized use of the vaccine.'

“Going forward the J&J vaccine will carry a stronger warning about potential long-term and debilitating health consequences.

“While COVID shots surely make sense for many people, they don't work for all working people in Washington. The science and data recognize this. The governor must recognize it, too.

“The FDA findings contradict a central assumption the governor made in his Emergency Proclamation 21-14.1: That all COVID-19 vaccines were safe and effective.

“In Washington state, we still have firefighters, nurses, and other essential workers being fired from their jobs because they can't provide proof of COVID shot status. This isn't right. The employers doing the firing — for which they may get sued — say that the governor's proclamations leave them no option.

“The governor can stop this injustice by ending his Proclamation 21-14.1 and related edicts. In 21-14.1, the governor mentions 'our individual and collective duty' to do the right thing for the people of Washington. He needs to honor that duty now by recognizing the FDA's current science and data and end actions that force local agencies to fire essential workers, rather than inflict greater hardships on the people of this state.

“If the governor refuses to do the right thing, the state Legislature needs to take action on behalf of the people — by convening a special legislative session, in which it reforms current state law and ends the governor's emergency edicts.

“This is a great opportunity for the Legislature to work in a bipartisan effort for the people. If the governor won't fix the trouble he's made, we can and must!”

The complete FDA announcement can be found here.

The complete text of Gov. Inslee's Emergency Proclamation 21-14.1 can be found here.


Washington State House Republican Communications