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Johnson & Johnson to reduce shipments of its COVID-19 vaccine in the United States by 86% next week

Vials with a sticker that reads: "COVID-19 / Coronavirus Vaccine / Injection only" and a medical syringe in front of the Johnson & Johnson logo
Vials with a sticker that reads: “COVID-19 / Coronavirus Vaccine / Injection Only” and a medical syringe in front of the Johnson & Johnson logo

Johnson & Johnson will reduce the doses of its COVID-19 vaccine that it will deliver to the United States next week by 86 percent. The information emerges from the database of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC, for its acronym in English), and threatens to slow down the fluid inoculation campaign that has been taking place for weeks in the North American country.

Inoculant distribution has been inconsistent since the drugmaker delivered its first batch in early March, shipping 2.8 million doses nationwide before falling below 400,000 in the following weeks.

Last week it shipped about 1.9 million doses and this week the number rose to 4.9 million. But next week that number will drop to just 700,000.

The drop in delivery comes days after federal officials learned that human error at Emergent BioSolutions, a contract manufacturer that has been making Johnson & Johnson vaccines, blew up as many as 15 million doses.

That confusion led regulators to delay the authorization of the plant’s production lines and Biden’s management putting Johnson & Johnson in charge of the plant. However, it remains to be determined how much the problems at the Baltimore factory influence the overall fluctuations in vaccine distribution.

Federal administrators divide doses across the country based on each state’s adult population. That means California will suffer the brunt of the reduction, after receiving 572,700 vaccines in recent days, it will only receive 67,600 next week.

In Texas, the allocation will be reduced to 46,300 of 392,100; Florida, which received 313,200 vaccines this week, will receive just 37,000 in the next few days. Guam, which received 16,900 doses, will not receive any next week.

Although Johnson & Johnson made conservative estimates of how many doses it would produce at first, it still fell short of its production targets in the United States, delivering less than it had promised in February and March.

Johnson & Johnson's Covid-19 Drug
Johnson & Johnson’s Covid-19 Drug

Johnson & Johnson’s initial vaccine supply allocated in the United States came from a Dutch plant and was delivered on an uneven schedule. That prompted the Biden administration to warn state health officials that the vaccine supply would be variable.

But federal officials expected that with the help of the Emergent factory there would be a steady stream of doses from the company in April. Now, considering that this plant does not yet have authorization, the delivery schedule is even more uncertain.

Maryland’s health secretary -where Baltimore is- Dennis R. Schrader told vaccine providers that the “significant decline without notice is a surprise and a disappointment.”. The state will receive 78,300 fewer vaccines next week compared to today.

The Governor of Ohio, Mike DeWine said that he had been told that the dose reduction was not the result of “what happened at the factory”. The entity will receive 151,600 vaccines less next week.

Despite Johnson & Johnson’s shortages, numerous doses of Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are still being applied at high speed in the United States. According to the latest CDC data they said that about 112 million people in the United States had received at least one dose of a vaccine, including about 66.2 million people who have been fully inoculated (nearly 20 percent of the population) with either the Johnson & Johnson single-dose vaccine or the Pfizer / BioNTech or Moderna two-dose series.

The New York Times.

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