Shipments of Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine dwindle to none after production setbacks

Johnson & Johnson vaccine
Posted at 4:23 PM, May 13, 2021

More than a month after a subcontractor in Baltimore had to throw out 15 million doses of the Johnson & Johnson single-dose COVID-19 vaccine, domestic production is still disrupted.

Next week, the CDC will not be shipping any J & J vaccine doses to states in their weekly allotments, the Washington Post reports. Shipments of the two-dose Pfizer and Moderna coronavirus vaccine doses continue next week uninterrupted, according to the CDC shipment update.

There were 600,000 doses of the J & J vaccine to states this week, that compares to about 10 million Pfizer doses and 8 million Moderna doses.

In early April, shipments of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine reached 5 million doses. However, all of its doses have been imported from a facility in the Netherlands.

Emergent BioSolutions was contracted to manufacture the vaccine doses in the U.S. In April, there was a cross-contamination concern that ruined millions of doses. At the time, the FDA issued an inspection report that found unsanitary conditions and lack of training to prevent contamination, according to the Post.

The facility has not received FDA certification for production yet.

Use of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine was halted for 10 days in April while experts evaluated rare instances of blood clots associated with the vaccine. The CDC and FDA lifted their temporary pause on April 23.

The temporary pause means some states have a small stockpile of J & J COVID-19 vaccine doses.

Even with decreasing vaccination rates, there is still demand for the Johnson & Johnson vaccine; the single-shot vaccine can be more easily stored and with only one dose, health experts hope it will help vaccinate people in situations where returning for a second dose may be difficult.