At least 40,000 doses of the Johnson & Johnson (J&J) vaccine will expire starting this Thursday. That amount represents less than 4% of the millions of drugs that have entered the country under the Covax Agreement. According to the Ministry of Health, that number is below the 10% allowable loss.
“The Ministry of Health has optimized the Janssen vaccine for immunizing the urban and rural population, so that 4% still have to be used in regions with still low doses,” said a statement from the state authority.
In July, the country received 1,008,000 vaccinations of that unit dose against the Covid and by Monday 15th, 963,371 doses had been administered according to the national government’s vaccination report. According to this data, 44,629 doses would remain, but that number could decrease with use between Tuesday and yesterday.
In addition, the Ministry of Health announced that not all J&J vaccines will be phased out this Thursday. When arriving in two different lots, some have a longer period of validity.
The National Director of the Extended Immunization Program (PAI), Max Enríquez, stated that the number of remaining doses in the country’s health service (headquarters) is minimal. “This dose is no longer available in the departments of Pando, Cochabamba and Oruro. Chuquisaca doesn’t have more than 400 doses of vaccines, but La Paz and Santa Cruz have the largest amount of Johnson & Johnson vaccine inoculants concentrated. That is why we are optimizing the immunization of the population with these doses, ”he explained.
The director of the headquarters of La Paz, Mayber Aparicio, made it clear that this vaccine no longer exists in this region. “As a La Paz church, we no longer have Johnson & Johnson. Those who remained (in the rural areas of the department) were withdrawn. At that point we had between 5,000 and 7,000 cans that we brought into town and they were all used, ”he said.
Enríquez explained that these cans were initially sent to the rural areas for ease of use and logistics. In order to implement its application more effectively, the immunizer was then concentrated in the urban area of the country.
According to the La Paz Extended Vaccination Program (PAI), it was reported that one of the campaign’s priorities was vaccinating citizens who had to travel abroad. This move is due to the US and other countries only accepting certain vaccines, as is the case with J&J.
Former Health Minister Guillermo Accounts warned that vaccines should be lost. “Today we have around 40,000 cans close to their expiration date. Before that happens, give a third dose to anyone who wants it. In a pandemic like this, we cannot afford to spoil vaccines, ”he explained.
The expert was of the opinion that the age of use of these vaccines should also be reduced to those under 18 years of age. “If the age group is brought down, we will see positive attitudes (for the acceptance of these vaccines) from parents who want to return to normal,” the former agency said.