The U.S. government expects to initially receive only a few “million” doses of Johnson & Johnson’s Covid-19 vaccine if authorized (well below what was initially promised) and is working with the company to prepare for increase production, White House Jeff Zients, Covid-19’s response coordinator, said Wednesday.
Zients said the administration is planning a possible authorization of the vaccine (which requires a dose) and that the contract would consist of the delivery of 100 million doses by the end of June. These deliveries would be “bottom-up,” he said.
“We have learned that there is no large inventory of Johnson & Johnson. There will be a few million doses that we will start with, ”Zients said during a press conference. “We’re doing our best, working with the company, to speed up the delivery schedule.”
In its initial contract with the previous administration, J&J agreed to supply 12 million doses by the end of February, including two million it planned to deliver in January. The company says it will ship some doses after authorization, but declined to specify how many.
J&J “intends to distribute the vaccine to the U.S. government immediately after authorization and expects to supply 100 million doses to the U.S. during the first half of 2021,” it said in a written statement.
A report from the Government Accountability Office released last month said J&J would deliver about two million doses of the vaccine if it receives an emergency use permit. The previous administration had said it was working with the company to speed up shipments.
Food and Drug Administration officials are examining data from the J&J trials, and the agency has scheduled a Feb. 26 meeting at which external advisors will examine the application for authorization. This could continue as soon as days after the meeting.
Johnson & Johnson formally applied to the European Medicines Agency for approval to market the vaccine in the EU earlier this week. The EMA said it expects to make a decision in mid-March.
The Biden administration has ordered enough doses from Pfizer and Moderna to vaccinate 300 million people and says it expects to receive them by the end of July. J&J doses, if authorized and delivered on time, would add 100 million doses by the end of June. Managing the shots would take longer.
The United States has struggled to speed up the launch of vaccines due to a limited dose supply. Pfizer and Moderna have pledged to deliver 200 million doses of their two-dose vaccines by the end of March, but so far less than 72 million doses have been shipped to the United States and around 55 have been given. millions of shots.
The United States paid J&J $ 1 billion in August to help fund the development of its vaccine in exchange for a $ 100 million dose guarantee and an option to buy an additional $ 200 million. It also provided J&J with $ 456 million in March.
The Biden administration is committed to exploring all available options to help drug manufacturers, including J&J, boost drive vaccine production. He said he is deploying war powers through the Defense Production Act to help them secure the necessary supplies.
The experimental feature of J&J involves a single dose and can be stored in refrigerators instead of freezers, which could help speed up vaccinations. – Bloomberg / Reuters