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US officials are extending the shelf life of J&J vaccine doses

WASHINGTON (AP) – Johnson & Johnson said Thursday that U.S. regulators have extended the shelf life of millions of doses of the COVID-19 vaccine by an additional six weeks.

The company noted that a study by the Food and Drug Administration concluded that the staff remained safe and effective for up to 4 1/2 months. The announcement comes after government officials warned that many unused stockpiles would expire by the end of the month.

Vaccine expiration dates are determined on the basis of data provided by the manufacturer to regulators that prove how long the shots are valid. The FDA initially allowed the J&J vaccine to be used after production for up to 3 months when stored at normal refrigeration levels. But J&J said the FDA extended the period to 4 1/2 months based on data from ongoing studies evaluating vaccine stability.

The FDA is reviewing the expiration dates of three authorized vaccines as companies continue to test batch samples months after the first release of the shots.

Prolongation will help maintain the supply of vaccines, even if the level of new injections continues to decline. Last week, the country received an average of about 800,000 new injections per day. That dropped to a maximum of almost 2 million a day two months ago. Government officials have applied a growing number of incentives to encourage shootings ranging from paid leave to $ 1 million in lottery prizes.

As vaccinations have slowed, it has become clear that the United States is unlikely to achieve President Joe Biden’s goal of partially vaccinating 70% of American adults on July 4. According to the Centers, about 64% of Americans over the age of 18 have had at least one dose. for disease control and prevention.

The J&J vaccine was highly anticipated because of its one-shot, easy-to-deliver refrigeration requirements. The shooting was expected to play a role in rural areas, in low-income countries with limited health facilities.

But rival pharmacists Pfizer և Moderna have already supplied more than a dose to meet US demand, with more than 129 million Americans fully vaccinated in two doses of company shots. By comparison, only 11 million Americans were vaccinated with J&J.

The United States plans to announce plans to donate 500 million doses of the Pfizer vaccine next year in exchange for the promised 80 million doses by the end of the month.

Involvement of the J&J vaccine in the United States has also been marred by contamination at a Baltimore plant that helps recruit staff. The facility was shut down after an FDA inspection in April found numerous problems, and none of the vaccines were delivered there.

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AP Health Writer Linda A. Johnson contributed to this story

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The Associated Press Department of Health and Science receives support from the Department of Science Education at Howard Hughes Medical Institute. The AP is solely responsible for all content.

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