My significant other finally was able to get the J&J vaccine on October 15th, which is at least a partial answer here.

But in discussing it with a pharmacist, who had told me that they had never had the J&J vaccine ever. She said it wasn't a local choice, and I inferred from our conversation that the long delay was a government decision, perhaps by the Washington State health authority with public health responsibility, and/or federal (FDA?) actions.


Bloomberg: Moderna, J&J Make Case for Covid Boosters Ahead of FDA Panel

Robert Langreth and Riley Griffin, first posted 10/12/2021.

Moderna Inc. and Johnson & Johnson said that data they've gathered supports the need for booster shots for their Covid-19 vaccines, ahead of a key regulatory meeting later this week.

For me, this is good news. I am statistically at-risk for complications from COVID-19. I got my single dose of the J & J vaccine as soon as it was available to me. But stupid rules developed by over-partisan administrations in both Washington DC and the State of Washington, got in the way. I had to wait until the general adult population became eligible.

As a result, I had to drive from King County to Island County to get my protection ASAP. The fastest route by car involves taking a Ferry, and for someone dependent on public transportation, it would have been an all day affair.

I've seen no benefit at all from the politicization of COVID-19 vaccinations, and I've subsequently discovered that what seems like political considerations are causing further delays. I've convinced a few unvaccinated friends to take a shot, saying that the J & J vaccine only requires a single dose. But now the say the government lies about its availability through its official vaccine.gov site. They are not wrong:

enter image description here

The Federal government is claiming to help by filtering on vaccine brand and availability, but the results produced have been utterly false. Clicking on the link for Hagen Pharmacy takes me to a more accurate website for a group of stores including Safeway and Albertsons. And that site tells me that none of them have J&J within 50 miles.

enter image description here

One step forward, two steps back

Costco does appear to have one day of appointments for the J&J this week. But it's taken so long that the unvaccinated person I referred to has backed out on their commitment

Original Question (slightly dated)

I can't find a local pharmacy offering the single-dose covid-19 vaccine. They say it is back-ordered.

Have there been any reports of recent government action (CDC, FDA, etc.) related to the Johnson & Johnson/Janssen vaccine concerning its discontinuance, rejection of lots, diversion to other countries, etc., that has caused it to be unavailable in the US?

  • That means they ran out and they're waiting to get more delivered. Doesn't seem so strange. If you can arrange 2 visits you could get one of the other ones? Commented Sep 10, 2021 at 8:50
  • So far my research suggests this is a national shortage. One pharmacy said it was because the government started shipping it overseas. If it is due to government action, it seems political. It could also have to do with final approval of the other two vaccines currently approved for emergency use in the US. Commented Sep 10, 2021 at 17:06
  • @RickSmith I'll suggest that as a public-health question, it fits with the category of governments, policies and political processes. Edited to expand my initial entry, which was done from a phone. Commented Sep 10, 2021 at 17:11
  • 2
    I’m voting to close this question because after the significant edit it received just now it became a push question (i.e. no longer what could be seen as a good-faith effort). I am dropping this comment to inform OP as I believe the simple close vote for the predefined reason would not necessarily register.
    – Jan
    Commented Oct 13, 2021 at 17:12
  • 2
    @EkadhSingh-ReinstateMonica Don't worry, this was a clear exception. Usually I just use the pre-defined reason no questions asked.
    – Jan
    Commented Oct 15, 2021 at 10:52

1 Answer 1


Demand for it never really recovered in the US, after it was paused (& resumed) in April.

enter image description here

There were also some production problems in Baltimore, but that wasn't the main issue, because e.g. at one point in June news was that

Close to half of the 21 million doses produced for the United States sit unused.

I'm personally not surprised since the same thing happened with the AZ vaccine in a few other (European) countries, where it was paused and even when resumed, it was resumed with some restrictions, e.g. "France, Spain, Italy and Germany have all restricted the use of AstraZeneca to older age groups." Demand thereafter for AZ being so low in said countries, they indeed donated some or all their AZ stocks to other countries. I suppose the US might have made J&J donations on the same lines, but I'm not totally sure. There's a press release from July that the US was donating 12 million J&J doses through COVAX, which seems to correspond roughly to the overstock mentioned earlier. (It was somewhat easier to find that Canada purchased 10 million doses of J&J but all were then donated... together with 18 million AZ dozes, after the latter vaccine was "phased out" in Canada as well.)

Both J&J and AZ are [adeno]viral-vectored. Both experienced VITT ("blood clots") as a rare side-effect, albeit possibly at different rates. The viral base is suspected to be cause of these [shared] side effects that triggered the pauses, but the cause isn't totally clear/certain.

I haven't really followed what else might have happened with the J&J vaccine in the US, but it's been mentioned that it was going to be administered to Afghan refugees entering the US. I've found a partial list of countries to which the US donated J&J vaccines until July 1:

  • Colombia: 2.5 million
  • Brazil 3 million
  • South Korea 1 million
  • Mexico 1.35 million

The US had also donated vaccines from the other manufacturers: in total some 24 million doses to 10 recipient countries by July 1. Some 3 million J&J doses were donated to the Phlipines a week later. By my quick calculation that seem to account for most of the J&J overstock at the time. By August the White House announced 100 million vaccines donated, but while there is breakdown by receiver country, there isn't one by manufacturer in that later announcement. I thus don't have an exact picture where most of the later/current J&J production from the US went, but it's probably reasonable to expect it was mostly donated/exported. (According to a tracker that only covers US donations to Latin America, 1 million doses of J&J were also sent to Bolivia.)

Also, news from end of July was that the FDA ordered J&J to discard 60 million doses produced in Baltimore... due to some kind of contamination, apparently with ingredients for the AZ vaccine that was produced at the same plant. (AZ itself is not approved for use in the US.)

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