TAMPA, Fla — Just as all adults 16 and older in Florida are eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine, Johnson and Johnson is dealing with a pretty major setback.
"This all boils down to a manufacturing plant in Baltimore that had problems with contamination of one of the ingredients of the vaccine," said Dr. Jason Salemi, an Associate Professor of Epidemiology at USF.
He says that would have yielded millions of doses. It's why Florida and every other state across the country are seeing a nearly 90% decrease in supply this week.
Last week, Johnson and Johnson had nearly 5 million doses allocated across the US. This week it's only 700,000.
"We were still allocated nearly 600,000 doses of Pfizer for this week; that's a 2.4% increase over the previous week," said Dr. Salemi. "And another 435,000 doses of Moderna, and that's pretty much the same as the previous week."
It's why he isn't concerned right now that the J&J vaccine shortage will have any impact on folks in the Tampa Bay area.
The company is waiting on FDA approval before it can ship out more doses, and there's no word on when that will happen.
"The concern would be if people wanna get vaccinated this week or next week and the supply of J&J remains low, and they might not be able to — yeah, we will absolutely have to monitor that at sites," he said.
The Florida Division of Emergency Management says it's not anticipating any impact on state vaccination sites. It primarily uses the one dose Johnson and Johnson vaccine at federally supported vaccination sites and one-day mobile vaccination clinics, but it's also been sending doses to pharmacies, medical offices, and hospitals and are prepared to give out more Moderna or Pfizer if requested.
"The good news right now all of the vaccines seem to be doing what they're designed to do," said Salemi.
He says current data shows 1 in 10 Florida residents ages 16-24 have been vaccinated with one at least one dose, and 1 in every 4 for people ages 35-44.
He says progress is being made quickly and hopes the J &J shortage doesn't last long.