WASHINGTON (Sputnik) – The US government has suspended shipments of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine in order to help clear existing surpluses, the Wall Street Journal reported on Thursday, citing state and federal health officials.
The stoppage, which is believed to be temporary, comes following news that the FDA extended the official shelf life of the J&J COVID vaccine from 3 to 4.5 months. Of the roughly 21 million J&J doses in the US, just over half have been administered – a lower percentage than the vaccine’s Moderna and Pfizer counterparts – partly as a consequence of the US’s decision to temporarily suspend use of the vaccine back in April in order to assess reported blood-clot risks.
“It just hasn’t been included in our weekly allocations, from the feds, which means it is not available to order,” Keith Reed, Oklahoma’s State Department of Health Deputy Commissioner, said.
Both state and federal health officials stated that they have been unable to order new doses since mid-May due to CDC restrictions on ordering. A J&J spokesperson did not reply to requests for comment on the US government’s decision to halt distribution of the vaccine to states.