Johnson & Johnson’s single-shot COVID-19 vaccine will begin shipping in the U.S. on Monday morning, marking the third shot in the country’s arsenal after a greenlight from the FDA and a panel with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
McKesson, the government-selected distribution partner for the vaccination effort, announced Monday it started distribution for the new vaccine. Activity at the McKesson Clermont facility in Shepherdsville, Ky. on Monday morning saw vials packed into insulated coolers and loaded onto UPS trucks. McKesson noted there are four distribution centers involved with the Johnson & Johnson coronavirus vaccine rollout.
Alex Gorsky, chief executive officer of Johnson & Johnson, told NBC’s “Today” co-hosts Monday that shots could go into arms within the next two days.
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“Well we think literally within about the next 24 to 48 hours Americans should start receiving shots in arms, they’re literally rolling out with the trucks as we speak,” Gorsky said, in part.
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A Johnson & Johnson executive previously said nearly 4 million doses would be shipped out this week, with 20 million doses available by the end of March, though supply is expected to be uneven this month. The company expects to deliver 60 million shots by spring and 100 million total vaccines to the U.S. by mid-2021.
Dr. Rochelle Walensky, director of the CDC, issued a statement Sunday after an advisory panel recommended the vaccine for adults aged 18 and older.
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“As vaccination scales up, so too does our nation’s overall protection from serious outcomes due to COVID-19,” Walensky said, in part, in the statement. “The Janssen vaccine has been shown to be safe and effective in preventing severe COVID-19 illness, hospitalization, and death.”
Johnson & Johnson previously said its single-shot coronavirus vaccine showed 72% efficacy in preventing moderate-to-severe COVID-19 in the U.S, but fell to 66% in a larger trial conducted worldwide. The mRNA vaccines developed by Pfizer and Moderna had over 90% efficacy in clinical trials.