Johnson & Johnson can deliver 20 million doses of its single-shot coronavirus vaccine to the U.S. government by the end of March, an executive will testify tomorrow.
“Assuming necessary regulatory approvals relating to our manufacturing processes, our plan is to begin shipping immediately upon emergency use authorization, and deliver enough single-doses by the end of March to enable the vaccination of more than 20 million Americans,” Johnson & Johnson’s Richard Nettles, vice president of medical affairs for the company’s pharmaceutical unit Janssen, will tell a House Energy & Commerce subcommittee Tuesday.
The company has applied to the Food and Drug Administration for emergency authorization. FDA is expected to grant that as early as this weekend, after an expert FDA panel convenes Friday to discuss the effectiveness and safety of J&J’s vaccine.
Why it matters: White House officials had cautioned that initial supply of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine would be limited because of production problems, although the company has said it will meet its agreement to supply the U.S. with 100 million doses by the end of June.
“We are confident in our plans to deliver 100 million single-dose vaccines to the United States during the first half of 2021, and we are continuing to partner with the U.S. government to explore all options to accelerate delivery,” Nettles will say.
The vaccine is 66 percent effective against the virus overall, but showed just 57 percent efficacy in a trial in South Africa, where a problematic strain, B.1.315, has spread widely. That strain has been reported in 10 U.S. states.
What’s next: The House panel will also hear from executives of Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZeneca and Novavax on ways the major vaccine manufacturers are scaling up production to meet the country’s vaccine demands.
Pfizer and Moderna each have pledged 300 million doses this year.