RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — North Carolina will see an 88 percent decrease in doses of the one-shot Johnson and Johnson vaccine next week, according to data posted by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
This week, the state was allocated 149,800 doses of the J&J vaccine. Next week, that will drop to 17,700 doses. This is happening just as the state makes all adults eligible to receive COVID-19 vaccines.
“The federal government has been transparent about the instability of the Johnson and Johnson supply levels over the last several weeks, and we expect fluctuations to continue for the next several weeks,” wrote NC Dept. of Health and Human Services spokesperson Catie Armstrong in an email.
“We’ve shared that information with providers. As supplies stabilize, our providers will have more information for advance planning and better operational ease to vaccinate North Carolinians fast and fair.”
First doses of Moderna and Pfizer are expected to remain steady next week compared to this week, according to the CDC. The state is being allocated 103,900 first doses of Moderna next week and 140,400 first doses of Pfizer.
Nationally, the J&J allocation will drop from almost five million doses this week to 700,000 next week, the CDC reported.
Lisa Canellos, a spokesperson for Johnson and Johnson, did not say why the drop is so significant in response to questions from CBS 17. She said the company is still working to get approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to get emergency use authorization for a facility in Baltimore, Maryland, where there have been production issues.
She added the company still anticipates delivering “nearly 100 million” doses to the U.S. government by the end of May.
Michelle Davis, director of quality and nursing for Advance Community Health in Raleigh, said her organization began Friday hosting vaccination events at sites outside of their clinic in an effort to serve a greater part of the community and improve access. Part of that plan is to offer the Johnson and Johnson vaccine, which would provide more convenience.
“We haven’t had many people miss their second-dose appointments with Moderna, but we do know there are some people who face challenges scheduling appointments, taking time off work, having travel capability to get to a site that’s offering vaccines,” she said.
Federal officials addressed the J&J supply issue Friday, saying it likely will continue to be lower than it has been.
“That’s the fluctuation that we expect until they are able to get through the FDA process and open the additional plant. So, we do expect week-to-week lower levels until the plant is approved,” said Jeff Zients, White House COVID-19 response coordinator Friday.
Zients said production could pick up by the end of this month.
“We’re optimistic that once they have the FDA authorization, that they’ll be able to deliver as they’ve told us at that eight-million-per-week cadence,” he said.