Andrew Cuomo

Cuomo Warns 88% Drop in Johnson & Johnson Vaccine Supply Will Slow New York Rollout

Nationally, Johnson & Johnson's single-shot vaccine has accounted for less than 3 percent of all U.S. doses administered but more than double that percentage of full inoculations

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Less than a week after New York state expanded vaccine eligibility to all residents age 16 and older, Gov. Andrew Cuomo is warning Johnson & Johnson's recent production issues may mean fewer available appointments in the short term.

The drug company said Wednesday it had to discard 15 million doses of its single-shot vaccine regimen last month because a batch of its key active ingredient didn't meet quality control standards at a Baltimore facility.

While the production issue is not expected to affect President Joe Biden's end-of-May deadline to have enough vaccine supply for all U.S. adults, it may hamper states' efforts to accelerate their own rollouts to meet increased eligibility demand.

Cuomo said Friday that New York state's Johnson & Johnson allocation for next week will be reduced by about 88 percent -- to around 34,900 -- over the previous week. It'll mark the first decreased weekly allocation the state has received lately.

"While no appointments should have to be canceled, we will not be able to get as many shots into New Yorkers' arms as we would like," Cuomo said. "We hope the production issues are resolved as soon as possible, and that production ramps up quickly so we can expand the number of New Yorkers who are vaccinated."


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Data: City of New York, State of New Jersey • Nina Lin / NBC

As of Friday, New York state has fully vaccinated about 23.1 percent of its population; more than 7.1 million New Yorkers -- 36 percent of the state's population -- have received at least one dose. In the city, 20.6 percent of the population is fully vaccinated, while a third has gotten at least one dose.

New York's vaccine tracker does not break down which vaccines have been administered to its population in terms of population. New Jersey's tracker, however, does. The Johnson & Johnson vaccine accounts for only 3 percent of all vaccine doses administered in the Garden State to date. But officials there are warning the production-related reduction in supply may cause some delays.

State Health Commissioner Judy Persichilli said New Jersey's weekly Johnson & Johnson allotment would drop from 131,000 doses this week to 15,600 next week -- a plunge of 88 percent. She warned it could fall to 5,200 the following week, which would mark a 96 percent two-week decline.

Gov. Phil Murphy says the production problem appears to be a "short-term issue," for Johnson & Johnson, which he says gives him peace of mind. To date, New Jersey has fully vaccinated nearly 23 percent of its population, while almost 37 percent have received at least one dose.

Nationally, Johnson & Johnson's vaccine has accounted for less than 3 percent of all U.S. vaccine doses administered, according to the CDC. The vaccine, which fully inoculates with a single shot, has accounted for more than double that percentage in full vaccinations (7.4 percent), though.

Johnson & Johnson's vaccine, made by the company's Janssen subsidiary, was shown to be 86 percent effective in preventing severe forms of COVID-19, NBC News reports. It received FDA emergency use authorization in late February and rolled out about 4 million doses immediately but shipments have stalled since then.

Nearly 26 percent of all U.S. adults age 18 and older have been fully vaccinated, according to the CDC. More than 43 percent have gotten at least one dose.

The national rollout may be poised to take another significant step in the coming weeks. Pfizer and its German partner BioNtech said Friday they asked the FDA to expand emergency use authorization of their vaccine to adolescents aged 12 to 15. So far, that vaccine is the only one authorized for use among 16- and 17-year-olds.

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