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FDA Extends Shelf Life of Johnson & Johnson COVID Vaccine

Kent State University student Jarrett Woo gets his Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccination from Kent State nursing student Allie Rodriguez in Kent, Ohio on April 8, 2021.
Phil Long
/
AP
Kent State University student Jarrett Woo gets his Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccination from Kent State nursing student Allie Rodriguez in Kent, Ohio on April 8, 2021.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has extended the expiration date for Johnson & Johnson vaccine doses, and that’s good news for communities with a stockpile of the vaccine.

The initial shelf life of the Johnson & Johnson doses was three months, but federal regulators have extended that to four-and-a half months. Columbus Health Commissioner Dr. Mysheika Roberts welcomes the extra breathing room to work through their stockpile of roughly 7,000 single dose shots.

“You know any given day we use it. I think yesterday we gave 16 doses of Johnson & Johnson at one of our clinics, but we’re not using it nearly as much as we were, say two months ago,” Roberts explains.

According to a Johnson & Johnson press release, the extension is the result of ongoing studies which show the vaccine remains stable when properly refrigerated. Roberts said this kind of change is not that uncommon.

"This has happened before,” she said. “I believe it happened with H1N1, it's happened with the flu vaccine and it's happened with other vaccines. The FDA, as well as the manufacturer, are very conservative when they come up with expected shelf life."

The city of Columbus is still providing shots with no appointment necessary are at the Ohio State Fair Grounds and Columbus Public Health Office on Parsons Avenue.

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