Vaccine shipments to N.Y. will be reduced amid production problems

Nurse Joan Thompson administers the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine to student Darby Leid of Wayland, Mass., at Union College Friday
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Nurse Joan Thompson administers the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine to student Darby Leid of Wayland, Mass., at Union College Friday

ALBANY — A speed bump is ahead in New York state’s COVID vaccination program:

The state will receive only 34,900 doses of Johnson & Johnson vaccine from the federal government next week, a decrease of 88% from this week.

The news was announced Friday by Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who said no appointments should need to be canceled as a result but not as many appointments would be made.

The blip is nationwide — the pharmaceutical company had to discard 15 million doses due to quality control failures, the Associated Press reported.

News reports indicate 4.9 million Johnson & Johnson doses were sent out to the states this week, but just 700,000 will be shipped next week.

The one-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine is one of three authorized for use in the United States. The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are both two-dose vaccines.

“We hope the production issues are resolved as soon as possible, and that production ramps up quickly so we can expand the number of New Yorkers who are vaccinated,” Cuomo said in a prepared statement.

Since mid-December, 11.39 million doses of vaccine have been administered in New York state; 36% of the population is now at least partially vaccinated. County-level vaccination rates vary greatly; in and near the Capital Region, they range from 27.3% in Fulton County to 43.6% in Albany County.

Nationwide, 33.7% of the Americans have received at least one dose; New York ranks 13th among the 50 states in number of doses administered per capita, and first among the states with more than 10 million residents.

In other COVID news Friday:

  • Fifty-six new deaths pushed New York’s official COVID death toll to 41,028. Fifty of the deaths were in New York City and four surrounding counties.
  • The seven-day positive COVID test rate declined to 3.4% statewide and 2.2% in the Capital Region; it held steady at 1.6% in the Mohawk Valley. At the county level, the rate was: Albany 2.3%, Fulton 3.0%, Montgomery 3.4%, Rensselaer 1.7%, Saratoga 3.3%, Schenectady 1.9% and Schoharie 2.7%.
  •  A total of 4,351 people were hospitalized statewide with COVID, including 109 in the Capital Region and 61 in the Mohawk Valley.

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