(WETM) – According to the New York Times, the Johnson and Johnson vaccine makes up less than four percent of the administered COVID-19 vaccine doses. Local health departments warn that some of their doses of the one-shot vaccine are about to expire.
Many people became more hesitant toward the vaccine because of the 10 day CDC pause in April 2021. The vaccine also took another hit last week, as regulators had to throw out millions of doses because of a contamination threat at the Baltimore manufacturing plant.
“I think we really lost our opportunity, back in the spring,” Steuben County Health Director Darlene Smith said.
Local health officials are concerned that as demand decreases for the Johnson and Johnson supply will continue to stockpile. In the Southern Tier, many people held out for the one-dose shot because they thought it was easier than a two-dose vaccine. Initially, national health experts believed the Janesson would be helpful for hard-to-reach communities and other areas that may not have access to vaccine clinics. These vaccines could be easily transported because they did not require drastic refrigeration temperatures.
“I know anecdotally from talking to many residents throughout the county that they were specifically waiting for the Johnson and Johnson vaccine to come out. They wanted one dose,” Smith continued. “I think I think two things have really impacted the decrease desire for the Johnson and Johnson and Johnson vaccine…[the pause] that really scared a lot of people off due to the very rare blood clots. I also think that the fact that it came out some so much later than Pfizer and Moderna decreased demand.”
According to an April Economist-YouGov poll, 52 percent of U.S. adults believed the vaccine was safe before the pause. After the investigation, the approval rating decreased to 37 percent.
“I think in some ways for some people there has been a perception that Johnson and Johnson might be a lesser vaccine than Pfizer or Moderna,” Smith added.
Now, there is a race to use the vaccine doses before they expire.
“I know some of my colleagues have Johnson and Johnson that’s going to expire next week. They’re hoping to use it up by then, but not all are confident that they will,” Smith concluded.