J&J COVID-19 vaccine's expiration date extended by six weeks
(Sourced from PTI)
Johnson & Johnson said on Thursday that US regulators extended the expiration date on its COVID-19 vaccine doses by six weeks. The company said a Food and Drug Administration review concluded that the shots remain safe and effective for at least four and half months. In February, the FDA originally authorized J&J's vaccine for up to three months when stored at normal refrigeration levels.
Vaccine expiration dates are based on information from drugmakers on how long the shots stay at the right strength. J&J said the FDA added six weeks based on data from ongoing studies assessing the vaccine's stability. The FDA has been reviewing expiration dates on all three US authorized vaccines. The vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna, authorized in December, have a six-month shelf life.
The J&J extension will help maintain vaccine supplies even as the number of Americans getting shots has slipped. The country averaged about 8,00,000 new injections per day last week. That's down from a high of nearly two million daily shots two months ago. Government officials and companies have turned to incentives to encourage shots, including paid time off to one million dollar lottery prizes.
As vaccinations have slowed, the US is unlikely to meet President Biden's goal to have 70 percent adults partially vaccinated by July 4. Roughly 64 percent Americans older than 18 have had at least one dose, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
J&J's vaccine was highly anticipated because of its one-and-done formulation and easy-to-ship refrigeration. But Pfizer and Moderna have already supplied enough doses to meet US demand. More than 129 million Americans have been fully vaccinated with the companies' two-dose shots. By comparison, just 11 million Americans have been vaccinated with the J&J shot. About 10 million more J&J doses have been sent to states.
The use of J&J's vaccine has been hurt by links to a rare blood clot disorder which led to a pause on its distribution for an 11-day review. Officials lifted the hold in late April. J&J's roll-out also slowed because of contamination problems at a Baltimore factory. The facility was shuttered after an FDA inspection in April. Vaccines made there have not been distributed.