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Johnson & Johnson shelf life extended as thousands of doses sit unused in Upper Michigan

Ten million doses of the Johnson and Johnson vaccine are sitting in storage going unused across the U.S., according to the CDC.
Updated: Jun. 10, 2021 at 2:57 PM EDT
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UPPER PENINSULA, Mich. (WLUC) - Ten million doses of the Johnson and Johnson vaccine are sitting in storage going unused across the U.S., according to the CDC.

And with questions about how much longer some of those doses would last, the FDA has extended the vaccine’s shelf life from three months to four and a half months.

While it’s unknown exactly how much J&J vaccine the U.P. has, Public Health Delta & Menominee has one thousand doses on hand.

“That is a significant amount,” said Mike Snyder, Public Health Delta & Menominee Counties Health Officer. “It is going to take a while to go through all that.”

The extra supply comes as overall vaccine demand has slowed since its peak in April which was when the Johnson and Johnson vaccine was paused for rare reports of blood clots.

All three of the health departments we spoke to said, they have not seen out-of-the-norm side effects since the pause was lifted.

“I think there were people that were a little less enthused with the Johnson and Johnson vaccine after the pause which is to be expected,” said Robert Van Howe, Western U.P. Health Department Medical Director.

State data shows of the vaccines shipped throughout Michigan, 45 percent of Johnson and Johnson vaccines have been used. That’s much lower than that 75 percent of Moderna and 80 percent of Pfizer.

Percentage of vaccine used in Michigan by type.
Percentage of vaccine used in Michigan by type.(WLUC)

However, now, health departments say they are seeing a group of people who want the single-dose vaccine.

“When I check the schedules for upcoming clinics, we have a pretty even balance between Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson and Johnson,” said Kerry Ott, LMAS District Health Department Public Information Officer.

While health departments say they are using the Johnson and Johnson vaccine for the homebound, it is available to the public.

To schedule an appointment for any of the vaccines at a health department near you click here.

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