US : Expiry date for J&J vaccine extended by FDA
Johnson & Johnson said that US regulators extended the expiration date on millions of doses of its Covid-19 vaccine by six weeks. The company said a Food and Drug Administration review concluded the shots remain safe and effective for at least 4 1/2 months.
Vaccine expiration dates are based on information from drugmakers on how long the shots stay at the right strength. J&J said the FDA added six weeks based on data from ongoing studies assessing the vaccine’s stability.
The FDA has been reviewing expiration dates on all three U.S. authorised vaccines as companies have continued to test batches in the months since the shots first rolled out. The vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna, authorized in December, have a six-month shelf life.
The J&J extension will help maintain vaccine supplies even as the number of Americans getting shots has slipped. The country averaged about 800,000 new injections per day last week.
As vaccinations have slowed it’s become clear the U.S. is unlikely to meet President Joe Biden’s goal target to have 70% of American adults partially vaccinated by July 4. Roughly 64% of Americans older than 18 have had at least one dose, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
J&J’s vaccine was highly anticipated because of its one-and-done formulation and easy-to-ship refrigeration requirements. The shot was expected to play a key role in vaccination campaigns in rural areas and low-income countries with limited health care infrastructure.
The U.S. is set to announce plans to donate 500 million Pfizer vaccine doses for global use over the next year, on top of 80 million doses already pledged by the end of the month.