When Johnson & Johnson's single-dose COVID-19 vaccine Ad26.COV2.S was authorised by the FDA in February for emergency use, it was seen as a breakthrough for reaching vulnerable and isolated Americans, offering a key alternative to vaccines that require two shots and come with more onerous storage, reported The New York Times.
However, the news source noted that with only 11.8 million doses administered so far in the US — less than 4% of the total — the "one and done" vaccine has fallen flat.
States have warned for weeks that they may not find recipients for millions of doses that will soon expire, partly because the vaccine's appeal dropped after it was linked to a rare, but serious blood-clotting disorder and injections were paused for 10 days in April.
Johnson & Johnson's inoculation took another hit last week, when regulators told the company it should throw out tens of millions of additional doses produced at a plant in Baltimore due to possible contamination.
Kim Deti, a spokeswoman for the Wyoming Health Department, said the graph of uptake in her state told the vaccine's story – a significant climb in the early weeks of its rollout, followed by a plateau that began around the pause. Meanwhile, José Romero, the Arkansas health secretary, described the rapid decline of Ad26.COV2.S as a "lost opportunity" for reaching the vulnerable in his state.
Still, Alex Gorsky, CEO at Johnson & Johnson, said last week that he was still hopeful Ad26.COV2.S would help contain the pandemic overseas. The company has promised up to 400 million doses to the African Union. Separately, the global vaccine-sharing program COVAX is supposed to receive hundreds of millions of doses.
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