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J&J vaccine encounters glitch as state expands eligibility

Clinical nurse Jeffrey Vongjesda vaccinates Michael Bello, 63, with the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine at a mass vaccination site at the Mountain View Community Center on Jan. 26, 2021. Photo by Magali Gauthier.

Gov. Gavin Newsom said today that California will still receive safe shipments of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine after a nationwide batch was discarded because of a manufacturing problem.

The news couldn't have come at a worse time as California dramatically expands vaccine eligibility to people 50 and older starting today. All Californians 16 and older become qualified on April 15.

All current doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine are considered safe as they were produced in a Netherlands facility approved by federal regulators, the New York Times reported.

Newsom said at a press briefing today that the state will still receive slightly more than 1 million Johnson & Johnson doses from the Netherlands in the next three weeks.

"Beyond that," he said, "it's an open-ended question."

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A batch of up to 15 million doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, also called the Janssen vaccine, reportedly was ruined in recent weeks because of quality-control problems at a Baltimore manufacturing plant, the New York Times reported Wednesday. Johnson & Johnson said in a press release that "one batch of drug substance" used in manufacturing the vaccine "did not meet quality standards."

Some future production may be delayed while U.S. regulators complete an investigation.

The single-dose vaccine, which requires only refrigeration, has been viewed as critical to speeding vaccinations in California and across the nation in a race against emerging COVID-19 variants.

"We are working with the federal government to learn more about potential impacts," California Department of Public Health spokesman Darrel Ng told CalMatters Wednesday. "Maintaining the highest standards during vaccine production to ensure safe and effective vaccines is a paramount concern."

Although Johnson & Johnson doses currently comprise a smaller part of California's vaccination program than the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines, state officials expected supplies to increase significantly. The company projected that 100 million doses would become available nationwide by mid-year.

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Earlier in March, Johnson & Johnson vaccines were not distributed nationwide as planned because manufacturing was slower than expected, Reuters reported.

Public health officials also are trying to overcome the skepticism of some Americans about the vaccine, which the FDA says is safe and effective in preventing death and serious disease. Studies show it does not provide as much protection as the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines.

Last month, five of California's top government doctors received the Johnson & Johnson shot to boost public confidence. Public health officers from nine Bay Area counties also jointly expressed their confidence in the single-dose vaccine, noting — ironically, in retrospect — that "the best vaccine is the one you can get the soonest."

Email Barbara Feder Ostrov at [email protected]

CalMatters.org is a nonprofit, nonpartisan media venture explaining California's policies and politics. Read more state news from CalMatters here.

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J&J vaccine encounters glitch as state expands eligibility

by / CalMatters

Uploaded: Thu, Apr 1, 2021, 9:44 am
Updated: Thu, Apr 1, 2021, 11:07 am

Gov. Gavin Newsom said today that California will still receive safe shipments of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine after a nationwide batch was discarded because of a manufacturing problem.

The news couldn't have come at a worse time as California dramatically expands vaccine eligibility to people 50 and older starting today. All Californians 16 and older become qualified on April 15.

All current doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine are considered safe as they were produced in a Netherlands facility approved by federal regulators, the New York Times reported.

Newsom said at a press briefing today that the state will still receive slightly more than 1 million Johnson & Johnson doses from the Netherlands in the next three weeks.

"Beyond that," he said, "it's an open-ended question."

A batch of up to 15 million doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, also called the Janssen vaccine, reportedly was ruined in recent weeks because of quality-control problems at a Baltimore manufacturing plant, the New York Times reported Wednesday. Johnson & Johnson said in a press release that "one batch of drug substance" used in manufacturing the vaccine "did not meet quality standards."

Some future production may be delayed while U.S. regulators complete an investigation.

The single-dose vaccine, which requires only refrigeration, has been viewed as critical to speeding vaccinations in California and across the nation in a race against emerging COVID-19 variants.

"We are working with the federal government to learn more about potential impacts," California Department of Public Health spokesman Darrel Ng told CalMatters Wednesday. "Maintaining the highest standards during vaccine production to ensure safe and effective vaccines is a paramount concern."

Although Johnson & Johnson doses currently comprise a smaller part of California's vaccination program than the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines, state officials expected supplies to increase significantly. The company projected that 100 million doses would become available nationwide by mid-year.

Earlier in March, Johnson & Johnson vaccines were not distributed nationwide as planned because manufacturing was slower than expected, Reuters reported.

Public health officials also are trying to overcome the skepticism of some Americans about the vaccine, which the FDA says is safe and effective in preventing death and serious disease. Studies show it does not provide as much protection as the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines.

Last month, five of California's top government doctors received the Johnson & Johnson shot to boost public confidence. Public health officers from nine Bay Area counties also jointly expressed their confidence in the single-dose vaccine, noting — ironically, in retrospect — that "the best vaccine is the one you can get the soonest."

Email Barbara Feder Ostrov at [email protected]

CALmatters.org is a nonprofit, nonpartisan media venture explaining California's policies and politics.

Comments

The Voice of Palo Alto
Registered user
Crescent Park
on Apr 1, 2021 at 1:40 pm
The Voice of Palo Alto, Crescent Park
Registered user
on Apr 1, 2021 at 1:40 pm

These are exactly the kind of set backs we don’t need right now. We need things to just go smoothly at this point. What’s worse about this news is that the J & J vaccine is considered the “inferior” vaccine by many people already. The last thing J & J needs is more negativity surrounding their vaccine. On top of it, Dr. Cody just warned of another potential surge in SCC as all variants of concern have now been detected in our communities. We need more vaccine supply not a mistake with 15 million doses!
I just want to feel safe in my beloved Crescent Park again.
Web Link


Consider Your Options.
Registered user
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 1, 2021 at 2:36 pm
Consider Your Options. , Another Palo Alto neighborhood
Registered user
on Apr 1, 2021 at 2:36 pm

Just got my vaccine today. Had to drive to Oakland to get an appointment. I am 62. I am still masking, washing hands a lot, and keeping social distance. Let's do everything we can as individuals to help the fight against this virus and get our communities back to normal.

Be safe. Be kind and patient with each other. Do everything you can to help.


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