The federal government has revised vaccine-supply expectations downward for Washington, state health officials said during a Wednesday media briefing.
The decreased supply comes as state health officials prepare to open vaccine eligibility next week, on April 15, to everyone age 16 and over.
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 estimates from the federal government were premature.
“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 …”
The reduction in expected supply apparently stems from problems at a manufacturing facility producing Johnson & Johnson vaccine. About 15 million doses were ruined after employees for a contract manufacturer to J&J mixed ingredients incorrectly.
The problem was discovered before any bad doses were shipped out and widely reported in new outlets last week.
Allen said the state is slated to receive fewer doses of J&J vaccine than previous forecasts indicated.
In total, Washington state expects deliveries of at least 500,000 doses next week.
The state will direct some 380,000 doses to health organizations next week. Another 100,000 doses will arrive in Washington state through the federal pharmacy program. Federally qualified health centers, which are often called community health centers because they offer services regardless of a person’s ability to pay, will receive another 20,000 doses directly from the federal government. Dialysis clinics also will receive a direct supply, though how much is not yet clear.
The federal government maintains the expected supply boost will come, but the timeline is not yet clear, Allen said.
Next week, about 1.3 million people will join an estimated 5 million Washingtonians already eligible for vaccine.
With more people entering the queue for doses, 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.”