The U.S. is prepared to send out 3-to-4 million doses of Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccine as early as next week should the FDA grant emergency use authorization on Friday. In a briefing held Wednesday, Jeff Zients, White House COVID-19 coordinator, said that the U.S. is “ready to roll out this vaccine without delay.”
Zients said the distribution and allocation of supply would mirror the approach currently being used across jurisdictions, pharmacies and community centers with Pfizer and Moderna’s vaccines. His comments come just hours after the FDA posted documents that indicated the agency found no safety concerns after reviewing Johnson & Johnson’s application.
The company has previously announced plans to deliver 20 million doses by the end of March. Zients said the White House is working with Johnson & Johnson to further “accelerate the pace and timeframe” for which they deliver the full 100 million doses required by contract by the end of June, which is the amount agreed upon in a previous contract.
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“While we await the FDA’s decision we want the American people to know that we are doing the work so that if the EUA is granted, we will waste no time getting this lifesaving vaccine into [the] arms of Americans,” he said.
When the Biden administration took office, officials learned that Johnson & Johnson had fallen behind in their production schedule, and they began work to obtain raw supply and speed production efforts, he added.
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Zients said the U.S. is averaging 1.4 million doses of vaccine administered per day, down from last week’s average of 1.7 million. He pointed to weather delays for last week’s dip and said an uptick in supply being shipped out would likely accelerate the pace.