The first box of Johnson & Johnson’s COVID vaccine will be dropped off Monday at the McKesson facility in Shepherdsville, Kentucky. The company will be distributing its first 3.9 million cans across the country this week. Timothy D. Easley / Getty Images hide subtitles
Timothy D. Easley / Getty Images
Timothy D. Easley / Getty Images
Johnson & Johnson has started shipping the first nearly four million doses of its newly approved COVID-19 vaccine across the country, officials said Monday. It is expected that the offer will be further expanded in the coming weeks and months.
“We literally think Americans should be getting gunshots within the next 24 to 48 hours,” Alex Gorsky, Johnson & Johnson’s chief executive officer and chairman of the board, told NBC’s TODAY.
Both the Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention logged off It’s also the first single-dose vaccine to receive blessings from US authorities and the only one that doesn’t require ultra-cold storage.
Johnson & Johnson’s inclusion in the vaccine arsenal will be limited initially, but those in charge of the company anticipate production can be increased in the coming months. Gorsky said the company is committed to shipping 100 million cans by June and “up to a billion” by the end of 2021.
“If we say 100 million doses by June, that means 100 million vaccinations, patients treated,” he said. “So we’re excited, we’re going to work hard to make sure we meet all of these commitments. We think this is really important to our country and the world.”
Jeff Zients, the White House’s COVID-19 response coordinator, told a briefing Monday that 3.9 million doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine will be distributed to states, tribes, territories, pharmacies and community health centers as early as Tuesday this week .
“We’re getting these cans out the door right now to make sure vaccines get in the arms as soon as possible,” said Zients.
This number represents the total current inventory of Johnson & Johnson. Supply will be limited in the following weeks. He said the company expects to sell around 16 million additional doses by the end of March “mostly in the latter half of the month”.
Allocation is based on population, as are Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines, he added. The federal government will continue to monitor the distribution to ensure that all three are offered in a “fair and equitable” manner, he said.
“Our focus on execution, and that includes doing the vital work to make sure we keep increasing the overall vaccine supply, increasing the number of vaccines and increasing the number of places that Americans can be vaccinated,” Zients said.
Other public health officials praised the vaccine as an addition to the country’s arsenal in the fight against COVID-19 and as one that offers more flexibility.
Dr. Rochelle Walensky, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, explained several benefits of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. Namely, it can fully vaccinate people who may not be able or willing to return for a second dose, and easier storage and transportation mean it can be delivered and managed to more community facilities.
“The availability of multiple types of vaccines, particularly vaccines with different dosing regimens and different storage and handling, offers more flexibility,” she said.
The public health guidelines urge eligible individuals to choose which vaccine will be available to them first – guidelines officials repeatedly stressed on Monday.
Dr. Marcella Nunez-Smith, the head of the Covid-19 Health Justice Task Force at the White House, admitted that some people might prefer a particular vaccine, but urged them to be flexible.
“If people want to choose one vaccine over another, they may have to wait,” she said. “Time is of the essence. Vaccination saves lives.”
On international study Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine was 66% effective in preventing moderate to severe cases of COVID-19, as opposed to Pfizer and Moderna’s higher values of 95% and 94%, respectively. However, the vaccine was also found to prevent COVID-19 hospitalizations and deaths after 28 dayswhat officials say is equally important.
“All three vaccines are safe and highly effective in preventing what matters most, and that is very serious illness and death,” said Nunez-Smith.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, the president’s chief medical officer, also found that the vaccine is 72% effective against moderate to severe critical infections in the US and 85% effective against severe COVID-19 worldwide. He pointed out that the clinical study in the United States, South America and South Africa was carried out in locations with different infection dynamics and virus variants.
Gorsky made a similar statement TODAY, reassuring listeners that they can be confident that they will receive a safe and effective vaccine.
“When we ran our clinical trials in October 2020 through around January 2021, that was when the incidence rate of the virus was really peaking,” he said. “We also conducted our study worldwide so that 40% of our patients were in Latin America and around 15% in South Africa, where over 90% of those patients were infected with the South African variant that we didn’t even fully understand or even really at the beginning of the year estimate. ”
During the briefing, Walensky described the trials as the “largest clinical trials of any vaccine,” made possible by the high levels of circulating disease and the high level of interest from participants. All of the data available, she said, shows that the vaccines are safe and highly effective.
“The most important thing you can do is be ready to have the vaccine that is available to you,” she said. “It will protect us all from COVID-19.”
Walensky also warned against that second briefing in a rowthis progress against the pandemic number can stall. The number of newly confirmed COVID-19 cases in the US is at a worryingly high level after weeks of declines and deaths.
She cited data showing that cases reported to the CDC increased 2% per day to about 67,200 based on a 7-day average, with deaths also increasing 2% to nearly 2,000 per day. Note that these latest numbers may look low compared to the ones Winter peaksWalensky said they were still too high and pleaded with Americans not to be “resigned”.
“Please hear me clearly,” said Walensky. “At this level of cases with spreading variants, we will completely lose the hard-earned ground we have gained.”
She said she was “really concerned” about states taking back public health measures and urged Americans to continue to follow public health guidelines to prevent a possible fourth surge from more infectious varieties. While vaccination is key to ending the pandemic once and for all, much of the population is still waiting, according to Walensky.
Nearly 50 million people in the US have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, and the White House said so current 7-day average has returned to 1.7 million shots per day after disruptive winter weather.