Bad Timing For Johnson & Johnson's Double Dose of Problems As Vaccine Eligibility Expands

WBZ-TV's Christina Hager reports.

Video Transcript

- Massachusetts may be on the verge of a vaccine milestone and a sudden shortage. At some point this week, we're going to hit 2 million people fully vaccinated. We're now at nearly 1.8 million fully vaccinated. Another 2.7 million people have received one dose. WBZ's Christina Hager is live for us in Worcester tonight. Christina, next week, with more people become eligible, but the supply, it sounds like, will be more limited.

CHRISTINA HAGER: Right. And David, just to put this into context, last week, Massachusetts got more than 100,000 doses of J&J vaccine. This week, it's more like 12,000. And next week, around 4,000.

As Johnson & Johnson faces a double dose of problems, a manufacturing mix up, and reports of adverse reactions, Governor Charlie Baker is cautiously waiting to find out what that means here in Massachusetts.

CHARLIE BAKER: Makes it really hard to create a sustainable program with this.

CHRISTINA HAGER: Touring the Family Health Center of Worcester, where COVID-19 tests and vaccinations are underway, the governor touted the state's progress, predicting shots will hit the 2 million mark in Massachusetts this week.

CHARLIE BAKER: We've managed to stay pretty close to the timelines and the deadlines that we set up back in November.

CHRISTINA HAGER: But in the coming days, Johnson & Johnson is lowering its number of shipped doses by 85% after a contaminated supply from a Baltimore manufacturer had to be tossed. Adding to the uncertainty, several J&J clinics across the country recently shut down because of reported side effects.

ASHISH JHA: I'd still feel very comfortable recommending J&J.

CHRISTINA HAGER: The Dean of Brown University's School of Public Health, Dr. Ashish Jha.

ASHISH JHA: The reactions we've seen have been very mild-- lightheadedness. Some people have felt nauseated. And that has happened in a tiny, tiny portion of people.

CHRISTINA HAGER: Governor Charlie Baker says he's less concerned about that than he is about supply just as the state's vaccination effort gets a glimpse of the final stretch.

CHARLIE BAKER: How long people are going to need to wait to get vaccinated is going to be 100% a function of supply.

CHRISTINA HAGER: Well, the governor has a call scheduled with the federal government tomorrow at which point he hopes to learn more about what J&J can provide in the longer term. In Worcester, Christina Hager, WBZ News.

- Christina, thank you.