Sunday, February 28, 2021

Johnson & Johnson could deliver 100 million COVID vaccines by June

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Johnson & Johnson could deliver about 100 million doses of its coronavirus vaccine by the end of June, officials said Monday — if it’s cleared for use by the federal government.

Andy Slavitt, a White House adviser on COVID-19, gave the estimate during a briefing on the battle against the virus, but noted that the feds are planning cautiously by not assuming the shot will be green-lit — and that even if is, the bulk likely won’t arrive until closer to the summer.

“The schedule, if it were to be approved under EUA [the FDA’s Emergency Use Authorization] would be about 100 million doses by the end of the second quarter. That’s the end of June,” said Slavitt. “I would not, at this point, be overly confident that those doses would come evenly. I would expect that they would come towards the end of that contract.

“We’re not planning for facts that aren’t yet in evidence,” he added.

The expectation, however, should not be that that is an immediate, dramatic shift.”

The Johnson & Johnson vaccine would have some advantages and disadvantages compared to the two inoculations currently available in the US, made by Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech.

Unlike the two existing vaccines, the Johnson & Johnson version would not need to be stored at super-cold temperatures, allowing it to be more widely distributed to areas that may not have ready access to the extreme storage measures.

Additionally, it would be available in one shot, as opposed to the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines, which both require two doses administered a few weeks apart.

However, the Johnson & Johnson shot has only been found to have about 72 percent efficacy in US trials, whereas the other two vaccines rank in the 90s.

Speaking during the same briefing as Slavitt, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s leading infectious disease expert, said that, should the Johnson & Johnson vaccine hit the market, it may suit some people’s needs more than the Moderna and Pfizer products.

The Johnson & Johnson shot has only been found to have about 72 percent efficacy in US trials.REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration/File Photo

“There will be situations where people will say to themselves, ‘Do I want to get a single-dose vaccine and know that I’m protected against serious disease, or do I want to go with a number that’s a 94-to-95 [percent efficacy],’” said Fauci.

… There’s a lot more to protection than just preventing from getting infected.”

The nationwide vaccination effort has been hampered by supply-chain issues and limits on the federal government’s allocation of shots to states.

But after 1.6 million people were vaccinated on Inauguration Day, the effort did not exceed that mark until Jan. 28, when 1.7 million people were inoculated, according to Bloomberg News’ tracker. In the past week, the country has averaged around 1.3 million shots a day.

The figures exceed the 1 million daily pace needed to meet President Biden’s pledge to inoculate 100 million Americans during his first 100 days in office.

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Why we need to rethink COVID-19 risk as the weather warms up

THIS IS an excerpt from Second Opinion, a weekly roundup of art and medical science information emailed to subscribers every...

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