Missouri will not see an immediate impact from the loss of up to 15 million doses of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine because of a manufacturing mistake, a state official said Thursday.
Adam Crumbliss, director of the public health division of Missouri’s Department of Health and Senior Services, was briefing the members of the state’s Advisory Committee on Equitable COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution in a video call Wednesday. Crumbliss said increases of vaccine supplies to the state in the short-term were expected to come from Pfizer.
Johnson & Johnson announced Wednesday that there were “quality control” issues with a batch that had not yet made it to the “filling and finishing stages” at the Emergent Biosolutions facility in Baltimore, which is seeking authorization to produce the vaccine.
The company said it had already delivered enough doses to vaccinate more than 20 million people in the U.S., with a goal of 100 million by the end of May.
Crumbliss on Thursday said the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has not yet “clearly articulated” to states what the impact would be from Johnson & Johnson’s manufacturing problem.
If the vaccine were to have been distributed by population, as it has been, Missouri would eventually stand to lose 1.77% of the 15 million lost doses, or about 265,000 doses. The Johnson & Johnson vaccine requires only a single dose.
Crumbliss also listed the professions that are now authorized to offer vaccinations in Missouri, including dentists, midwives, optometrists, podiatrists, veterinarians, respiratory therapists and students of certain eligible health care professions.
Officials are seeking ways to increase the number of vaccinations being offered and to distribute them to groups that face economic, transportation or other barriers to the traditional health care system.
Lisa Cox, spokeswoman for the DHSS, said on the call that the state would roll out as early as next week a Spanish-language version of the “Vaccine Navigator” that helps residents find and schedule vaccinations, with about 15 more languages to follow.
Dr. Alex Garza, head of the St. Louis Metropolitan Pandemic Task Force, said Wednesday that if the St. Louis region, including areas of both Missouri and Illinois, continues to administer roughly 77,000 doses a week, 75% of adults could be vaccinated by the last week of June.