Washington, Jun 9 (IANS): While many countries are yet to receive even one dose of Covid vaccines, many US states are seeing unused Johnson & Johnson vaccine doses piling up on shelves -- all set to expire this month, media reports say.
State officials have warned the doses could go to waste if they go unused in the coming weeks or are not sent elsewhere.
About 200,000 doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine are set to expire on June 23, New York Times quoted Ohio state Governor Mike DeWine as saying.
The state's health department directed providers to adopt a "first-in, first-out" process for the shot to ensure doses with earlier expiration dates were used first.
As many as 60,000 doses of Johnson & Johnson vaccine may be wasted in Arkansas, and in West Virginia 20,000 to 25,000 doses are nearing their expiration date.
The expiration risk for Johnson & Johnson is a problem in every state, which received more than 10 million doses of the vaccine but were not administered, according to data collected by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
According to state officials, uptake for the one-dose shot was dampened after the 11-day pause of the vaccine in early April by the US Food and Drug Administration over safety concerns.
There is a growing fear among state officials that Johnson & Johnson vaccine doses, which are coveted in the developing world, could go to waste without a national plan, Marcus Plescia, medical director of the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials, the NBC news reported.
"I think people feel ethically that you've got other countries with no vaccines and in dire shape," Plescia said.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's vaccine data tracker indicates that 21.4 million doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine have been distributed and that a little more than half have been administered, or 11.1 million, the report noted.
The UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) also voiced concern over wastage of vaccines yesterday. It urged the G7 leaders -- the UK, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the US -- to commit to sharing a minimum of 20 per cent of Covid-19 vaccine dose supply between June and August, which would provide more than 150 million doses to COVAX.
Only 0.4 per cent of all Covid-19 vaccine doses have been administered in low-income countries. And in many countries, even the most vulnerable adults and health care workers have not received vaccinations, said WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, recently.