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US to ship 85% fewer J&J vaccine doses to states next week

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(Reuters) -US government to allocate nearly 85% fewer Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine doses to states next week, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) data shows, due to production patchy related in part to problems at a manufacturing plant in Baltimore.

FILE PHOTO: A nurse takes a vial of Johnson & Johnson coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccine, in Los Angeles, California, United States, March 25, 2021. REUTERS / Lucy Nicholson

Allocations will drop to 785,500 doses from 4.95 million doses this week. Data does not include a federal retail pharmacy program.

A US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) official, who declined to be named, told Reuters J&J distributed around 1.5 million doses to the US government this week, up from around 11 million of doses last week. The allocation and distribution of COVID-19 vaccines is managed by the federal government.

HHS expects the supply of J&J to be uneven, the official said, but added that the company had promised it was on track to meet its commitment to deliver nearly 100 million doses by now the end of May.

J&J did not respond to requests for comment.

Last month, J&J said it delivered enough of its single-dose vaccine at the end of March to allow more than 20 million people to be fully immunized. The company said it would be able to deliver an additional 24 million doses through April.

A New York Times report said last week that workers at an Emergent BioSolutions facility in Baltimore pledged to make the AstraZeneca Plc and J&J vaccines, mixing ingredients from the two injections, ruining 15 million doses of J&J.

The Baltimore facility has not been cleared by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, and a federal health official told Reuters last week that no vaccine produced at the plant has entered. weapons.

A last year’s report released by the FDA on Thursday showed inspectors reported several issues at the plant in April 2020, before the company began manufacturing COVID-19 vaccines, including inadequate controls for prevent contamination, training problems and other quality control problems. .

We have worked and continue to work closely with the federal government to support the response to COVID, Emerging spokesperson Matt Hartwig said in an email. These FDA observations were addressed and discussed in detail with the FDA during their recent site visits in September 2020 and February 2021.

According to CDC data, California receives the most J&J vaccines, followed by Texas and Florida. The vaccine allocation for California will drop by about 88%, with the state set to receive a maximum of 67,600 doses next week.

A California health official told Reuters the state allowance would drop further to 22,400 doses in the week starting April 18.

Reporting by Shubham Kalia and Aakriti Bhalla in Bengaluru; Additional reporting by Ankur Banerjee in Bangaluru and Michael Erman in New York; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore and Bill Berkrot

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