Oklahoma may be forced to throw away up to 80,000 J&J Covid shots that expire at the end of the month
About 80,000 doses of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine in Oklahoma expire at the end of the month.
When not in use they have to be thrown away, which is a huge waste of the once highly sought after shots.
Health experts fear the vaccine will be wasted as vaccine demand in Oklahoma fell more than 80 percent from 33,000 doses per day to about 5,000 from mid-April to early June.
Vaccine oversupply is a problem facing health departments across the country as they try to convince millions of unvaccinated Americans to get the injections.
About 80,000 doses of the Johnson and Johnson vaccine could go unused and expire at the end of the month in Oklahoma as demand for vaccines plummets state and nationwide
“We have removed the expired vaccine from active inventory and are following CDC guidelines for proper disposal,” said Keith Reed, deputy commissioner for the Oklahoma State Department of Health. ABC news.
“We’re seeing a steady decline, and that’s a little worrying.
“We are not meeting the goals we would like to achieve to ensure that we are well positioned to go into the summer and fall.”
Johnson and Johnson CEO Alex Gorsky said at a Wall Street Journal Tech Health event on Wednesday that his company is working to give the vaccines a longer shelf life.
“We are working very hard, both at the federal and local levels, to do everything we can to ensure that these vaccines are used and deployed in the best possible way,” he said.
According to tp data from the Oklahoma State Department of Health, 42 percent of adults in the state have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.
One-third of Oklahomans over the age of 18 are fully vaccinated.
The state is lagging behind the rest of the country, where 63.8 percent of American adults have received at least one shot and more than 53 percent are fully vaccinated, data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shows.
Oklahoma ranks 40th in the nation in percentage of the fully vaccinated population.
The Sooner State has faced many challenges in its vaccine rollout.
The United States Department of Health and Human Services estimates that it is one of the most hesitant countries in the country, with some provinces having a vaccine hesitant population of more than 30 percent.
Getting the vaccine to the state’s rural population is also a challenge, and the state even has a ‘vaccine vans’ program, which brings mobile vaccine clinics to the more remote areas of the state.
Oklahoma’s challenges with vaccine hesitancy and failure to deliver the shot to certain populations are a microcosm of a nationwide trend.
Vaccine demand across the country has fallen sharply in recent weeks after peaking in late April.
Oklahoma is one of the most hesitant states in America, with more than 30 percent of people in some counties not wanting the Covid-19 vaccine
Weekly vaccine distribution peaked on April 1, where more than 21 million doses were distributed over seven days.
About 5.5 million doses of vaccine were distributed in the past week, a drop of nearly 75 percent.
There are also still four percent of Americans who want the vaccine but have yet to receive it because of some kind of barrier, whether actual or perceived, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation.
Barriers include lack of time, not being able to travel to a vaccine site, believing the vaccine costs money (it’s free), or simply not knowing where to get the vaccine.
Experts estimate that the country needs 80 percent of the population to be fully vaccinated to achieve herd immunity.
President Joe Biden has set a goal of giving at least 70 percent of Americans their first shot of the vaccine by July 4.
Neither goal seems within reach at this point, as vaccine demand bottoms out and unused doses come to an end.
“I have to be honest, right now I don’t see us getting anywhere near there on July 4th,” said Reed.
“Not to say we won’t continue to work hard and diligently to increase our numbers.”