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Thu, June 17

Mohave County working to distribute J&J vaccine supply before doses expire

County health officials are worried that unused doses  of the J&J vaccine could expire. (Photo by New York National Guard/Public domain)

County health officials are worried that unused doses of the J&J vaccine could expire. (Photo by New York National Guard/Public domain)

Interest in the one-and-done Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine has dropped around the state, leading to a surplus of the vaccine – and those extra doses are nearing their expiration dates.

Officials say requests for the Johnson & Johnson vaccine waned after the federal government announced a brief pause for its distribution in April to allow for a safety review after six cases of blood clots were reported around the nation. Will Humble, executive director of the Arizona Public Health Association, told the Arizona Republic the pause in the Janssen manufactured vaccine “really slowed down demand for it.”

Melissa Palmer, assistant Mohave County health director, said the county has 700 vaccine doses in its possession, and over 600 of them are Johnson & Johnson.

She says some of those doses will expire in the next 30 days.

“We are currently working with local providers to distribute the Janssen vaccine out prior to the expiration date,” she said.

It’s a new hurdle for the county, which has struggled to improve its vaccination rate in recent months. According to the Arizona Department of Health Services, Mohave County is ranked 10th of Arizona’s 15 counties for its vaccine administration rate. About 35% of people – roughly 77,000 people – in Mohave County have received at least one dose of the vaccine.

Nearly 62,000 Mohave County residents are fully vaccinated.

If any of their vaccines expire, Palmer says Mohave County “will follow the procedures set forth by the Arizona Department of Health Services Immunization Program Office for proper documentation and disposal of vaccine.”

According to ADHS the proper way to dispose of vaccines is to fill out a waste/expired form and place the unused doses into a Sharps box container.

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