Health officials are concerned that the doses of the Johnson and Johnson coronavirus vaccine may expire this month, warning they could go to waste if they go unused in the coming weeks or are not sent elsewhere.
Governor Mike DeWine of Ohio has pleaded with health providers in his state to use about 200,000 doses of the vaccine that he said on Monday were set to expire on June 23.The state’s health department directed providers to adopt a First-in, first-out process for the shot to confirm doses with earlier expiration dates were used first. Arkansas’ state epidemiologist said last week that as many as 60,000 doses of vaccine may not be used there in time.
Andy Slavitt, a White House pandemic adviser, said that the federal government was encouraging governors to consult with the Food and Drug Administration on storage procedures as the agency examines how to extend the shelf life of the vaccine. He said the agency was looking at opportunities for continued storage.The single-dose Johnson and Johnson vaccine can be stored at normal refrigeration temperatures for three months, conditions that have allowed states to reach more isolated communities that may find it more difficult to manage the two-dose vaccines made by Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna, which have stricter storage requirements. Pfizer’s vaccine expires six months from its manufacture date.