Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccine doses will drop 86% next week after one of the company’s makers releases and distributes a supply. Michael M. Santiago / Getty Images Hide caption
Michael M. Santiago / Getty Images
Michael M. Santiago / Getty Images
Next week, states will be allotted 86% fewer Johnson & Johnson vaccine doses. Show new data from the Centers for Disease Control and PreventionThis underscores the company’s yo-yo vaccine supply from week to week.
But next week’s drop in supply isn’t exactly the setback it appears to be.
It’s the other side of a recent surge in Johnson & Johnson doses. The increase came because one of Johnson & Johnson’s third-party manufacturers was finally able to free up its inventory.
The company is called Catalent and its Indiana facility has been working for a while filling vaccine bottles and getting them ready for distribution. But it only recently received blessings from the Food and Drug Administration, officially added to J & J’s supply chain, enabling the cans to be released to the public.
After these cans have been distributed, Johnson & Johnson will again release as many cans as their team will finish each week.
The company raised its eyebrows last week when The New York Times reported first that another contract manufacturer, Emergent BioSolutions in Maryland, had mixed ingredients and a Johnson & Johnson batch did not meet quality standards. These cans never made it into the public eye as the FDA hadn’t yet approved the facility.
“Johnson and Johnson expect relatively low weekly doses until the company receives FDA approval,” said Jeffrey Zients, President Biden’s COVID-19 czar, during Friday’s White House briefing, referring to that of Emergent’s FDA Approved Johnson & Johnson Supply Chain Addition. “With FDA approval in April, the company expects a total cadence of up to 8 million weekly doses across state and state channels.”
He added that the company is working with the FDA to resolve Emergent’s manufacturing issues and install new leadership at the facility.
The most recent increase was 11 million doses.
Next week, 1.5 million J&J cans will be distributed, including 700,000 cans distributed through the state allotment system and another 800,000 that will be distributed through other federal programs that have grown significantly during the Biden administration.
Delivery of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine has been inconsistent since its FDA approval on Feb.27. The CDC allocated 2.8 million doses to states the next week, followed by no doses the following week, according to the CDC’s state allocation database. Then there were fewer than half a million doses each for the next two weeks. (The state allocation table, however, is not a complete accounting of doses distributed, as many are allocated through other federal programs and are not included in the data.)
It’s no secret that Johnson & Johnson had manufacturing problems. Although His contract for Operation Warp Speed dated August 5th says 37 million doses are to be administered by the end of March. That goal had shrunk to 20 million doses, as Dr. Richard Nettles, vice president of medical affairs for the company’s pharmaceuticals division, said. a subcommittee of Congress said on February 23.
The Biden government stepped in with help in early March when it signed a contract between J&J and a pharmaceutical, Merck, to increase vaccine supplies.
“We also relied on the Defense Production Act to equip two Merck plants with the standards required to safely manufacture the J&J vaccine,” said President Biden on March 2ndJohnson & Johnson received other government assistance, including day-to-day logistical support from the Department of Defense.
Johnson & Johnson says it will deliver the promised 100 million doses to the United States government by the end of May, which will help the Biden government achieve its goal of having enough vaccines for all American adults by then.
“The company continues to work closely with the US Food and Drug Administration to develop the Emergency Authorization (EUA) for the Emergent Bayview facility,” said Jake Sargent, Johnson & Johnson spokesman.