Next week the City of Detroit opens its much-awaited one-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine site on the city’s northwest side. But a pause in appointment slots is a possibility.
On Wednesday, shortly after Mayor Mike Duggan’s press conference on the new vaccine site, Johnson & Johnson announced that their "quality control" process identified a batch of their vaccine that did not meet their standards.
The pharmaceutical company declined to share how large the recalled batch was, but the New York Times reported 15 million doses were ruined. It’s unclear if any in that batch would have been slated for Michigan as Johnson & Johnson told WXYZ the pulled vaccines “never advanced to the filling and finishing stages” of the manufacturing process.
"We are still waiting for info on how this may impact the state in the coming weeks," said Lynn Suftin, a spokesperson for the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services. "We have been told next week’s doses are not impacted at this time."
The City of Detroit has appointments booked through next week at the new site, according to Hakim Berry, the city's Chief Operating Officer but they won't open up new slots until they have the vaccines in hand.
"We don’t get too far ahead of ourselves because of the inconsistency in the delivery of vaccines," said Berry, adding, "For the appointments that we have made this reported incident at the factory does not affect what we already have planned."
While the city maintains the situation can be frustrating — especially as COVID cases continue to climb — the situation of unreliable deliveries is not something they haven't dealt with before.
"We’ve actually been used to that," said Berry. He said out when the TCF site opened up in January, they had the capacity to dole out 5,000 vaccines a day but were getting less than that a week.
"It’s the same scenario we’re just going to take it step-by-step as the supply chain is filled for us," he added.