In a significant development, the Johnson & Johnson (J&J) COVID-19 vaccine has been phased out in the United States due to a combination of safety concerns and wastage issues.
The decision was made by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention after the expiration of all remaining doses last week, resulting in providers being directed to dispose of any remaining stock.
The Covid-19 vaccine from Johnson & Johnson is no longer available in the United States, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. https://t.co/HmIulilIrC
— CNN (@CNN) May 15, 2023
“Janssen COVID-19 Vaccine is no longer available in the U.S. All remaining U.S. government stock of Janssen COVID-19 Vaccine expired May 7, 2023. Dispose of any remaining Janssen COVID-19 Vaccine in accordance with local, state, and federal regulations,” a CDC notice states.
Since its initial rollout over two years ago, the J&J vaccine has garnered much attention and support as one of the four vaccines authorized in the U.S., but its effectiveness has been overshadowed by safety concerns. Back in May 2022, the Food and Drug Administration limited the usage of the J&J vaccine due to a serious risk of blood clots.
The agency recommended that Americans opt for the Pfizer or Moderna shots, except for adults who were unable to receive any other vaccine or those who requested the J&J option.
This recent decision to discontinue the J&J vaccine reflects the accumulation of unused doses. According to CDC data, approximately 19 million people in the US received the J&J vaccine, but more than 31.5 million doses were delivered, leaving approximately 12.5 million doses unused.
The wastage of vaccines, which has reached over $2 billion throughout the pandemic, can be attributed to various factors, including vaccine hesitancy and overspending by the US government under the Biden administration.
As the nation continues its vaccination campaign, the focus is now on utilizing the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, which have been recommended for people up to 18 years who have received one or two doses of the J&J vaccine.
Even through the vaccine hesitancy faced in the U.S. and the resulting dwindling demand for vaccines, the World Health Organization has recommended that new Covid booster shots be developed to target mutated variants of the virus.