(PresidentialWire.com)- It’s confirmed: There will be unused vaccines from Johnson & Johnson that the federal government will have to figure out what to do with.
As the demand for COVID-19 vaccines wane — especially for the one-dose J&J vaccine — officials from the White House still said they weren’t worried about the unused doses going to waste. They said the federal government was creating a strategy that could extend the shelf life of the vaccine.
Andy Slavitt, the White House’s COVID-19 adviser, told reporters this week:
“Our first goal and our first opportunity is that every dose that’s been ordered by a governor in a state gets used. There is a very, very fraction of doses that have been sent out to states that will ultimately not be used. These will be fractional amounts and really will not have any significant bearing on our ability to commit to distribute vaccines globally.”
This is an odd statement, especially considering Mike DeWine, the Republican governor of Ohio, said on Monday that vaccine providers needed to distribute as many vaccine doses as they possibly could, as quickly as they possibly could.
The governor said Ohio has 200,000 Johnson & Johnson vaccine doses that are set to expire on June 23. He also said he doesn’t have any legal options to send the vaccines somewhere else — either to other states that have a need or other countries, even.
Slavitt admitted that it’s unrealistic to expect that no COVID-19 vaccine doses will go to waste, and that every one will be used. He also reiterated that only a “very, very small fraction” of vaccine doses that have been given to states will not be used. That’s a very small portion of the “hundreds of millions” of total doses sent out.
“Remember, those doses were ordered by states, delivered by states and should end up in people’s arms.”
The Food and Drug Administration is currently examining ways that might extend the shelf life of these COVID-19 vaccines, Slavitt said. States that are looking for help in this area should contact the FDA directly.
“We would encourage every governor who has doses that they worry may be expiring to work with the FDA directly on the proper storage procedures, as we continue to examine … processes that will allow the doses to potentially last longer.”
June will be a “month of action” for the Biden administration, which is hoping to encourage more Americans to get vaccinated against COVID-19.
To date, roughly 171 million people in the country have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccines available to them. Only 10% of those people have received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, which is administered in a single dose.
A majority of the doses administered in America have been the two-dose Pfizer and Moderna shots.
Johnson & Johnson has delivered 21.4 million doses to the federal government, but only 11 million of those shots have been administered. Part of the reason for that stockpile is that the vaccine was temporarily paused in April due to concerns about blood clots and side effects.