On Wednesday, many expect President Joe Biden to order 100 million more doses of the COVID-19 vaccine from manufacturer Johnson & Johnson. This comes a few weeks after the one-dose vaccine was given Emergency Use Authorization by the Food and Drug Administration.
According to an official from the White House, through Fox Business, the president will instruct a team at the Health and Human Services department to get another 100 million Johnson & Johnson vaccine doses.
In February, the FBA gave its endorsement to the Johnson & Johnson vaccine through a unanimous vote by the committee.
Johnson & Johnson Jab Expands Vaccine Availability
The acting commissioner of the FDA, Dr. Janet Woodcock, said that the authorization expands vaccine availability, making the best way to prevent COVID-19 more accessible. She also announced the vaccine authorization. Woodcock said they had arrived at this conclusion after the FDA conducted an “open and transparent review process”
FDA tests on the vaccine showed an effectivity rate of 67% on preventing moderate to severe COVID-19 cases within 14 days after the shot was administered. Meanwhile, it works on 66% preventing severe to critical COVID-19 cases after 28 days.
What makes this vaccine unique is that it only needs one dose for full inoculation.
The said vaccine is made by using an adenovirus formula, unlike the vaccines developed by Moderna and Pfizer. Despite this, Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine had “no specific concerns” that would prevent the FDA from granting an EUA, according to the agency.
Despite having a lower effectiveness rating, the one-shot vaccine is easier to keep. It also has a longer shelf life when kept at a relatively higher temperature.
The FDA made its decision based on the results of a study on the said single-dose vaccine conducted on more than 39,000 people in several countries. This includes the United States. In the said trial, around half of the study population received a placebo. Meanwhile, two-thirds of the participants showed the vaccine’s effectiveness.
J&J on Track to Ship Out First Vaccine Doses
At the moment, Johnson & Johnson is working to ship out its first supply of the vaccine, amounting to at least 3.9 million doses. These will ship out to state health departments, pharmacies, vaccination centers and health centers across the U.S. The company says it expects to roll out enough doses to vaccinate 20 million people before the month ends. It also aims to ship out 100 million doses by June.
As it is right now, the company remains on track to manufacture around 1 billion doses that will roll out globally by the end of the year. This can generate up to $10 billion.
Last August, the company and the government had a $1 billion agreement for 100 million doses of the vaccine. The agreement also gave the option for the government to get another 200 million doses. Meanwhile, J&J had an agreement with the European Union for up to 400 million doses.
As per Jeffery Zients, the White House’s COVID-19 task force head, the administration was working with the vaccine manufacturer to speed up the pace of the vaccine distribution.
On the other hand, according to Jen Psaki, the White House press secretary, the current administration’s COVID-19 vaccine distribution plan is currently ahead of schedule. At the start of the year, Psaki mentioned that they planned to vaccinate around 1 million Americans daily. However, this week, 2.17 million people per day received their vaccine.