COVID-19 vaccine supply smaller after manufacturing mistake

SEATTLE (AP) — The federal government has lowered vaccine-supply allotments for Washington, apparently because of problems at a facility producing Johnson & Johnson vaccine, Washington state health officials said Wednesday.

Comments about the decreased supply Wednesday come as state health officials prepare to open vaccine eligibility on April 15 to everyone age 16 and over, The Seattle Times reported.

Health officials had expected the state to receive at least 600,000 doses of vaccine through state and federal programs for each week in April, but now Washington state expects deliveries of at least 500,000 doses next week. The federal government maintains the expected supply boost will come, but the timeline is not yet clear.

“The three-week forecast is a little bit lower than we hoped for,” said SheAnne Allen, the COVID-19 vaccine director for the Washington State Department of Health. “These are estimates, they do change …”

About 15 million doses were ruined after employees for a contract manufacturer to Johnson & Johnson mixed ingredients incorrectly. The problem was discovered before any bad doses were shipped and it was widely reported in new outlets last week.

Next week, about 1.3 million people will join an estimated 5 million Washingtonians already eligible for vaccine.

With more people becoming eligible, State Health Secretary Dr. Umair Shah said he hoped that vaccine supply would rise in May, if not later in April “so we can match that demand.”