Hospitals, state health departments, and the federal government are all racing to determine how millions are consumed by Johnson & Johnson Covid-19 Vaccine doses due to expire this month.
The prospect of so many cans going to waste in the US, though Developing countries are desperate for shots would increase pressure on the Biden government to share stored vaccines. However, according to those involved in the vaccination, there are few practical solutions for rapid administration in the USA or timely distribution abroad.
Inventory levels are partly an unintended consequence of the U.S. decision in April to Temporarily suspend administration of J&J doses to assess a rare risk of blood clots. The break forced states and providers cancel large blocks of appointments that have never been rescheduled and leave a surplus of supply, and increasing reluctance in some areas about the safety of the J&J vaccine, industry officials said.
Some hospitals and states say vaccines from Pfizer Inc. and partner BioNTech SE and Moderna Inc. will be phased out later this summer, but supplies so far have largely consisted of J&J doses. Pfizer’s vaccine expires six months after it is manufactured. Moderna’s vaccine can be frozen for up to six months, during which time it can be refrigerated for a month.
Philadelphia has leaked 42,000 J&J cans, most of which came from a Federal Emergency Management Agency clinic in the city’s Convention Center a few days before the break, a city spokesman said. Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Oklahoma, Ohio, and Arkansas are among the states that report thousands of J&J cans leaked this month and could not be redistributed.