As demand for COVID-19 vaccines declines across the country, unused Johnson & Johnson vaccine doses are piling up on state shelves, leaving state officials increasingly concerned that the lack of a coordinated federal plan to redistribute them means hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of doses will go to waste.
The buildup of doses is largely a result of the Food and Drug Administration's order in early April pausing distribution of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine because of safety concerns. Enthusiasm for the one-dose shot was dampened after the 11-day pause, according to state officials.
Dr. Marcus Plescia, medical director of the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials, described a growing fear among his members that Johnson & Johnson vaccine doses, which are coveted in the developing world, could go to waste if no national effort emerges.
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Lead adviser Andy Slavitt said Tuesday at the White House COVID-19 Response Team briefing that "a very small fraction of doses that have been sent out to states" are at risk of expiring.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's vaccine data tracker indicates that 21.4 million doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine have been distributed and that a little more than half have been administered, or 11.1 million.
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