COLUMBUS (WCMH) – A local pharmacist is voicing his concerns about COVID-19 vaccinations after Ohio announced approximately 200,000 Johnson & Johnson doses are set to expire in a few short weeks.
Joe Craft, owner of Plain City Druggist and three Happy Druggist Pharmacies, said he’s heartbroken to hear that many doses are set to expire on June 23, potentially wasting them.
Craft said he has nearly 500 of those Johnson & Johnson doses on his pharmacies’ shelves right now. He said he’s lucky if a full vial of the vaccine gets emptied each day.
“The Johnson & Johnson vaccine comes five doses to a vial and we’re very concerned of not wasting one dose in the very beginning, but then we finally got down to where we’re having trouble finding five folks a day that would like to get immunized,” Craft said.
Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine made the Johnson & Johnson vaccine announcement Monday, urging pharmacies to get the shots into as many people as quickly as possible before June 23.
The state previously said that it does not have legal options to send the vaccines to other states or countires and encouraging people to consider the shot.
Craft said he carefully monitors which Johnson & Johnson vials are used each day, adding he does have a number of vials with the June 23 expiration date.
“It just breaks my heart, the possibility that maybe 200,000 doses could be wasted,” he said.
Craft remembers three months ago when vaccine demand was very different. Now, people just aren’t coming in on a daily basis.
“Probably over 500 people on a waitlist for all the stores just waiting to get our vaccine in,” Craft said of that initial wave.
According to Craft, the breakdown of how many vaccines are available in his four stores is:
- Plain City Druggist: 210 doses
- Happy Druggist Pharmacy Karl Road: 90 doses
- Happy Druggist Mechanicsburg: 130 doses
- Happy Druggist West Jefferson: 65 doses
Craft’s stores aren’t the only ones with Johnson & Johnson doses on hand; a spokesperson with the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center said it had doses on hand that expire on June 23.
Craft is urging people who are hesitating to please think about getting the shot.
“It’s disappointing also to think half of Ohioans still have yet to get vaccinated,” he said. “I’m trying to do my part in encouraging people to get vaccinated. I’ve told people that ask me about it. I’m, like, ‘Look, everybody that I love and cared about, I made sure they got vaccinated right away.’”