“We are working very hard, both at the federal and local levels, to do everything we can to ensure that these vaccines can be used and used in the best possible way,” the chairman and CEO of Johnson & Johnson Alex Gorski said Wednesday at an event on the Wall Street Journal Tech Health.
“The good news was that we pulled out a lot of vaccines to meet this initial jump in demand, and now we’re making sure we get the best possible deployment and distribution, and the distribution system becomes even more agile, more flexible – not only that. here in the United States, between countries, but in fact around the world, it will be work that we must continue to focus on in the coming weeks and months. “
Dr Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told CNN on Wednesday that the US Food and Drug Administration was considering extending the shelf life and how to use the doses.
“The FDA is currently investigating this, trying to determine if the date can actually be extended or not, and if possible, whether we can use them properly, whether they are used in the United States or elsewhere,”
It is not clear how many doses of Johnson & Johnson are now at risk of leaking before use. The pace of vaccination has slowed in recent weeks, as nearly half of the US population – people aged 12 and over – is fully vaccinated.
Nearly 11 million doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine – about half of the 21.4 million doses delivered to states and other jurisdictions – have not been given, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“The point is that there are expiring doses – I would imagine in any state,” a source familiar with the federal vaccination effort told CNN on Wednesday. “However, this is a very small percentage of the total doses that are sent to suppliers – probably 1-2%.”
States administered less than half of the distributed doses of J&J
Most countries administered less than half of the doses of J&J they received, according to CDC data.
Three states – California, Texas and Florida – account for more than a quarter of unused doses. These states also received the most doses of J&J overall, as the federal government distributed vaccine supplies based on the state’s population.
Although the total number of unused doses was lower, West Virginia and Mississippi – as well as the Veterans Health Administration and the Indian Health Service – administered less than one-third of the J&J doses they received, according to the CDC.
According to CDC data released by Tuesday, Ohio has about 256,000 unused doses of the J&J vaccine. In a news release this week, Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine said 200,000 of those doses should expire before the end of the month. He noted that the state could not share the doses with other countries or countries.
CDC figures show Oklahoma has about 135,000 unused doses, and State Department of Health Deputy Commissioner Keith Reed told CNN that last week they had about 80,000 doses that would expire if not used by the end. of the month.
“We withdrew the expired vaccine from active inventory and are in the process of following the CDC’s instructions for proper disposal,” Reed told CNN.
Daniel McNeill, a public information officer at the Arkansas Department of Health, said the state received 163,000 doses of Jans Janssen’s Jans Janssen vaccine and administered 69,501 of them. About 65,000 doses should expire by September 30.
Retired Arkansas National Guard Colonel Rob Ator, who oversaw the distribution of vaccines in Arkansas, told KATV last week that he had stopped ordering the J&J vaccine for the state because they have so many unused doses.
“It’s a theory that can be taken out of the hands of the deck, but in the future we have the potential to have big waste,” he said.
What happens next
Johnson & Johnson said in a statement to CNN on Tuesday that it was conducting stability tests “to extend the time that our COVID-19 vaccine can be stored before it expires.” The J&J vaccine can be stored for up to three months at refrigerated temperatures, but longer if frozen.
Covid-19 White House adviser Andy Slavit said Tuesday that they were “working aggressively” to get doses, and encouraged states to work with the FDA on storage decisions.
Federal officials “would encourage any governor who has doses he worries may leak to work directly with the FDA on proper storage procedures … as they continue to explore processes that will allow doses to continue. longer as they go through these trials, ”he said.
However, the doses that could go to the wind will not affect the United States’ ability to meet its global vaccine distribution plans, Slavit said.
“It is unrealistic to expect that no dose will go to waste,” Slavit said, but “a very, very small fraction” of the doses of Covid-19 vaccines sent to the states will not be used in the end.
CNN’s Deidre McPhillips and Nadia Kounang contributed to this report.