Kansas was set to get a major boost in vaccine doses. KDHE says that is now on hold.
A major rise in the number of Johnson & Johnson vaccine doses set to arrive in Kansas next week is on hold, the Kansas Department of Health and Environment said Wednesday.
The state was originally set to get 100,000 doses from Johnson & Johnson next week but the agency said in a news release now that number is 16,500.
The agency attributed the change to "production issues" at the national level.
Reports from national outlets indicate that officials in President Joe Biden's administration are concerned that Johnson & Johnson will miss targets initially set for vaccine delivery. The full tranche of shots the company committed to distributing by the end of March perhaps may not be ready until mid-April.
It isn't immediately clear what that will mean for the state's move to Phase 3 and Phase 4 of its vaccine plan, which happened on Monday. Gov. Laura Kelly said last week when the move was first announced that it wouldn't be contingent on an increase in Johnson & Johnson supply going forward.
"If something happens and we have to pull back, we will do that," Kelly said. "But we aren't anticipating that."
Dennis Kriesel, executive director of the Kansas Association of Local Health Departments, said that the change would mostly impact larger counties, which could have been aiming to use the influx for mass vaccination clinics.
While the news was "super disappointing" he said it wouldn't be a barrier as counties moved ahead in their vaccination schedules.
The expansion to Phase 3 and Phase 4 would offer the shots to Kansans with underlying health conditions and those working in some high-contact fields.
KDHE said the state would be seeing a modest increase in the number of doses of the Pfizer vaccine, as well as its usual allotment of Moderna shots. The Johnson & Johnson shots could be more appealing for some areas, however, as they require only one dose and have less stringent storage requirements.