FRIDAY, April 9, 2021 (HealthDay News) — In a setback to a national vaccination campaign that was finally gaining ground, the federal government said Thursday that Johnson & Johnson will allocate 86 percent fewer doses of its COVID-19 vaccine across the United States next week.
The company delivered the first batch of its single-dose vaccine at the beginning of March, sending 2.8 million doses across the country before dipping below 400,000 in the following weeks, The New York Times reported. Last week, about 1.9 million doses were sent across the country, and this week, 4.9 million shots went out. Next week, that number will drop to 700,000.
Federal administrators divide vaccine doses nationwide based on each state’s adult population. That means that California will bear the brunt of the reduction: After receiving 572,700 doses of the vaccine this week, it will get only 67,600 doses of the J&J shot next week, The Times reported. In Texas, the allocation will drop to 46,300 from 392,100. Florida, which received 313,200 shots this week, will get 37,000 next week, the newspaper said.
The slowdown comes days after federal officials learned that Emergent BioSolutions, a contract manufacturer that has been making both the Johnson & Johnson and the AstraZeneca vaccines in a Baltimore plant, had mixed up ingredients from the two and ruined up to 15 million doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
How big a role that problem has played in the Johnson & Johnson vaccine distribution woes is hard to determine, The Times said. Distribution has not been the only problem for Johnson & Johnson this week: North Carolina health officials said Thursday that they stopped administering Johnson & Johnson vaccine doses at a mass immunization site in Raleigh and at clinics in Hillsborough and Chapel Hill after at least 26 people experienced adverse reactions, including fainting, the Associated Press reported. Four people were taken to hospitals for further examination, and state and federal health officials are reviewing the matter.
Kristen Nordlund, spokeswoman for the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, told the AP that it is aware of adverse reactions in some people who received the vaccine shots in Iowa, Colorado, Georgia, and North Carolina. Those reactions include dizziness, lightheadedness, feeling faint, and rapid breathing. Nordlund said the CDC is working with state and local officials to evaluate the problem and has performed vaccine lot analyses and found no cause for concern. The CDC is not telling health departments to stop vaccinations, the AP noted.
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