U.S. regulators extended the expiration dates for hundreds of thousands of COVID-19 vaccination doses. This was part of a national effort to save expired shots in an attempt to combat the nation’s recent surge in infections.
The Food and Drug Administration on Wednesday sent a letter to shot maker Johnson & Johnson declaring that the doses remain safe and effective for at least six months when properly stored. Public officials are urging more Americans to get vaccinated. The FDA’s action gives shots an additional six weeks.
Public health officials in many states are making similar efforts to ensure that soon-to expire shots are not discarded.
The coronavirus delta, which is highly contagious, has caused a surge in infections, especially among people who are not vaccinated. After a sharp fall in April’s peak, Inoculation rates have fallen only slightly.
Juliann Van Liw, Wyandotte County’s director of public health, stated that “it’s an extremely important time” and added, “We have children heading back to school in just weeks.”
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s website, federal health officials have sent an additional 8,000,000 doses of J&J shot to states that haven’t yet used them. The company didn’t provide any expiration dates.
J&J isn’t the only vaccine at risk of expiration. States report that Moderna and Pfizer doses are nearing expiration. This is six months after the date of manufacture. Louisiana’s 100,000 Pfizer doses will expire in the next week.
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Governors are asking the public to get vaccinated. Some offer cash incentives, such as $100 payments in New Mexico or New York City.
Some states have established marketplaces for shot providers and dedicated staff to distribute about-to expire vaccines to those who need them. These efforts are being made in New Jersey, Washington, and Wisconsin.