US stops shipping J&J vaccine to states as unused doses pile up

The U.S. government has halted sending new shipments of Johnson & Johnson's COVID-19 vaccine to states in a move expected to help clear a backlog of unused doses that are set to expire soon, The Wall Street Journal reported June 10. 

State and federal officials told the Journal that the CDC has stopped making the shot available to states, but the pause is expected to be temporary. 

The government didn't provide an explanation as for why it suspended shipments of the vaccine, but the change comes as federal and state officials are trying to use Johnson & Johnson doses sitting on shelves about to expire, the Journal reported. 

The FDA June 10 extended the shelf life of Johnson & Johnson's vaccine from three months to 4 1/2 months to give states more time to administer the shots. 

The move also comes as the FDA ordered 60 million doses of the vaccine be thrown out because of possible contamination at a manufacturing plant run by Emergent BioSolutions in Baltimore. 

A Johnson & Johnson spokesperson told the Journal: "We continue to work with the U.S. government and health authorities to support the use of our vaccine, which continues to play an important role, including among those who wish to be fully vaccinated with one shot." 

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