Now, federal officials have ordered nearly seven million doses, which will arrive in batches over the next months. So far, the administration has shipped about 320,000 doses to states. The Food and Drug Administration said on Wednesday that it had approved another 800,000 doses, but it was unclear when they would be distributed.
Jynneos is supposed to be administered in two doses 28 days apart. But some cities, including Washington and New York City, are holding back second doses until more become available, emulating a strategy adopted by Britain and Canada.
Federal health officials have advised against deferring second doses. But in studies, a single shot of Jynneos appears to be protective for up to two years. If that finding holds true in the real world, then postponing additional shots may help officials contain the outbreak by immunizing more Americans.
Britain held back second doses of the Covid vaccine early in the pandemic, when supplies were low, noted Tinglong Dai, an expert in vaccine supply at Johns Hopkins University. “The benefit of prioritizing first doses outweighs the risk,” he said.
There may not be much choice as eligibility widens and more at-risk people seek shots. Some jurisdictions already have expanded the groups eligible for immunization to include sex workers, patients of sexual health clinics, and clinicians and other employees who may be exposed to the virus at work.
In Rhode Island, Emily Rogers, a 29-year-old medical anthropologist, said she was able to call the local health department and get an appointment “very, very quickly.”