Baker to Talk With Feds About J&J Vaccine Supply as Feds Move to Pause Use

The Department of Public Health is notifying all Massachusetts providers to stop using Johnson & Johnson's COVID vaccine immediately

NBC Universal, Inc.

Gov. Charlie Baker was slated to speak with federal official about the Johnson and Johnson vaccine Tuesday as the U.S. government moves to stop using it.

The Food and Drug Administration said Tuesday that the U.S. government would immediately stop using the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine while experts review multiple adverse reactions to the shot.

The decision only affects federally run sites, but states are expected to follow suit. Massachusetts has done just that.

The Department of Public Health wrote on Twitter Tuesday that officials were notifying all Massachusetts providers to pause administration of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine, effective immediately.

Massachusetts residents who have already received the single-dose vaccine are advised to contact their physicians if they have concerns, per the Massachusetts COVID-19 Response Command Center. Individuals that have appointments scheduled for a Johnson & Johnson vaccine should contact the provider they booked with directly.

As of April 12, 181,034 doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine had been administered in Massachusetts, according to a Command Center spokesperson.

Baker was expected to learn how many Johnson and Johnson vaccines will be allotted for Massachusetts going forward during a scheduled phone call with federal officials Tuesday.

On Monday, Baker called for more "predictability" and "consistency" from the federal government over shipments of Johnson & Johnson's COVID-19 vaccine, after a manufacturing error at a Baltimore plant slowed the delivery of doses to the state.

Baker had said a steady supply of Johnson & Johnson doses would significantly speed up the vaccination process in the state, in large part because it only requires one dose.

The state got almost 104,000 doses of the single-dose vaccine two weeks ago but only 12,300 last week.

“Obviously you go from 100,000 doses, which created all kinds of opportunities, to use that one dose in a variety of strategic ways, to the 12,000 to 4,000, makes it really hard to create a sustainable program,” Baker said.

Meanwhile, people ages 16 and up become eligible Monday. Baker expects two million people will be fully vaccinated in Massachusetts by the end of the week. The state is now a nationwide leader in vaccinations.

In fact, the most recent data shows Massachusetts ranks fourth in the country for vaccination percentages, according Dr. Michael Misialek, of Newton Wellesley Hospital.

“At this pace, sometime in the summer we should have over 75-percent of patients vaccinated - nearly everybody over the age of 18," he said.

Despite the delay in shipments of Johnson & Johnson's vaccine, Misialek said he’s optimistic that the federal government and manufacturers will be able to increase production and meet the demand.

Two million people will be fully vaccinated in Massachusetts by the end of the week, Gov. Charlie Baker said Monday.

"It is concerning that the J&J vaccine availability might slip some in coming weeks with eligibility increasing, but I'm hopeful Moderna and Pfizer vaccines will be available to make up for that gap," Misialek said. "I encourage people to try not to shop around for a vaccine. Just get the one available at your appointment."

According to Monday's vaccine report from the state's Department of Public Health, 1,789,004 Massachusetts residents are fully vaccinated against the virus.

More than 4.5 million total doses have now been administered in the state, including 2,767,991 first-dose shots of either Pfizer of Moderna. Over 181,000 Bay State residents have now received Johnson & Johnson's single-shot vaccine.

Many organizations have back-up plans for other vaccines, but J&J's is desirable in many situations because it’s one dose.

Contact Us