Federal health officials halted Johnson & Johnson shipments to the states in the spring to remove a backlog of unused doses before they expired. But authorities have not indicated any plans to restart deliveries.
That poses a growing problem in New York, where suppliers are running out of or out of supply. The state Department of Health is responsible for most of the local distribution of vaccines, which it sources from federal stocks, not from the companies that make them.
Department spokesman Jeffrey Hammond said that, as is the case in other states, New York has not been able to request additional doses of the J&J vaccine from the federal government since early May.
“All Johnson & Johnson vaccines previously ordered by New York State were shipped to providers and, where possible, these vaccines were redistributed from providers who [could not] use your entire supply before it expires for other providers who have requested more doses, ”Hammond said in a statement.
Keluskar said he went to nearby hospitals to get additional doses, but to no avail.
Brian Conway, a spokesman for the Greater New York Hospital Association, said the industry group has been trying to find a glut of J&J vaccines for several weeks. The association represents more than 160 hospitals and health systems throughout the state.
“We think there is no supply left,” Conway said.
The US Department of Health and Human Services did not respond to a request for comment. Johnson & Johnson also did not respond to a request for comment.
In East New York, Keluskar is eager to get J&J doses back in the arms of his clients.
“At this point, someone needs to re-record the numbers,” he said, “and see where the vaccines are on the shelves and reallocate them to places where there is demand. This seems like such a solvable problem. “