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Some countries have problems providing their population with vaccines, but others like America doesn’t know what to do with millions of doses of Johnson & Johnson’s Covid-19 vaccines that expire this month.
The Wall Street Journal published that while many developing countries are desperate to obtain the vaccines, the Biden administration has not found solutions to administer them quickly or distribute them in time to foreign countries, according to people involved in the matter.
With the April hiatus to temporarily suspend the administration of doses of J&J to assess a risk of blood clots, the states and providers racked up large amounts from cancellation of vaccination appointments that were not rescheduled later.
Vaccines from Pfizer Inc. and its partner BioNTech SE, as well as Moderna Inc., will expire until late summer. Pfizer’s vaccine expires six months after manufacture, while Moderna’s can remain frozen for up to six months. But the rush now is with the J&J doses that expire this month.
Among the states that report that they have thousands of doses of J&J that are in this problem are Pensilvania, Virginia Occidental, Oklahoma y Arkansas.
The public health institutions that offer these vaccines have organized special promotions to use them before they go bad. Some health systems have redistributed them within and outside their networks, and some states have redirected them to doctor’s offices, pharmacies, or other states.
The problem has also been complicated because a deceleration of vaccinations in general in the nation and they do not see demand for more doses.
J&J is studying whether the shelf life of the product can be extended. But for now, the manufacturer stores the frozen doses until the government sends them to their recipients, which is the moment at which they go into a state of refrigeration, in which they can remain for up to three months, before being discarded.
All Covid-19 vaccines contain information about their expiration date, which is determined by manufacturers based on test data that is then approved by regulators. According to manufacturing experts, vaccines can still work after expiration dates, but data on this was limited when the vaccines were licensed.
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Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.