But manufacturing problems at a Baltimore facility run by Johnson & Johnson’s subcontractor Emergent BioSolutions have seriously affected the vaccine. A major manufacturing accident that resulted in a two-month shutdown of operations has essentially forced Johnson & Johnson to bear the brunt of the pandemic in the United States, while Pfizer and Moderna, the other federally authorized vaccine makers, used almost all of its vaccine stock. the country.
Johnson & Johnson has had to throw out the equivalent of 75 million doses, and regulators in Canada, South Africa and the European Union have also decided to withdraw millions of additional doses made at its Baltimore plant. The company has managed to deliver just a quarter of the 100 million doses it promised the federal government by the end of this month.
dr. Alaska chief physician Anne Zink said Johnson & Johnson’s shot in her state had fallen victim to its own timing. By late February, when it was approved by the Food and Drug Administration, Alaska had figured out how to get two-dose vaccines to remote areas, making the one-time regimen less crucial than she’d initially thought.
dr. Clay Marsh, West Virginia’s Covid-19 czar, said Johnson & Johnson’s hiatus and later approval — more than two months after Pfizer and Moderna’s — took away a “halo effect.” By the time West Virginia had an ample supply of all three vaccines, he said, “people were starting to think there might be something better about immunization with Pfizer and Moderna.”
The Johnson & Johnson shot also suffered from a “social network effect,” said Andrew C. Anderson, a public health professor at Tulane University who studies vaccine hesitancy. Most Americans vaccinated in the early months of the vaccine campaign received Moderna and Pfizer injections, so their friends and family were less likely to swerve and accept a different brand.
In Louisiana, hospitals in the New Orleans area have begun offering the Johnson & Johnson injection to people heading to the emergency room; the thinking is that people are more likely to accept the vaccine if a doctor who has treated them asks them to take it. And in Arkansas, where only a third of the population is fully vaccinated, state officials are offering doses of Johnson & Johnson to agricultural, manufacturing, wastewater and poultry workers, rewarded with gift cards for hunting and fishing licenses.