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Johnson & Johnson is missing 10 million vaccine doses promised by the end of February

Johnson & Johnson expects to be far from its commitment to delivering 10 million doses of its Vaccine against covid-19 by the end of February with less than 4 million to be ready for shipment following an expected emergency use permit from the Food and Drug Administration.

The announcement of Johnson & Johnson’s shortfall is the first public measure of exactly how far the pharmaceutical company has come behind its production target. Johnson & Johnson promised to deliver an additional $ 25 million by the end of March.

“We want 20 million doses of the vaccine to be made available by the end of March, and we are ready to send, immediately after approval for emergency use, almost 4 million doses of our vaccine,”

; Dr. Richard Nettles, Johnson & Johnson’s subsidiary Janssen’s vice president of medical affairs, told a House Energy & Commerce consultation committee on Tuesday.

He said the company remains “confident of our plans to deliver 100 million” doses by the end of June.

As a single-dose vaccine that can be stored at standard refrigerator temperatures for three months, Johnson & Johnson’s candidate had been heralded as a major advance in U.S. vaccine efforts despite its slightly lower efficacy compared to two-dose vaccines produced by Pfizer and Moderna.

“It’s a very easy vaccine to send and administer. It does not have all these complicated requirements, especially as Pfizer, which is a much more delicate vaccine. A single dose, you get what you are done. This is the vaccine that I wish, ”said Dr. Marcus Plescia, Medical Director of the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials.

While the vaccine is logistically simpler, states may face obstacles in deciding which sites to prioritize for the stronger doses, or how to deal with residents hoping to get one vaccine over another. Some of this guidance could come this weekend after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices met to discuss Johnson & Johnson’s version.

“I think there is this feeling in many jurisdictions that it would be great if this vaccine came with very specific recommendations on who should get it and how it should be used,” Plescia said.

States also still do not know how many Johnson & Johnson doses they can expect. The Biden administration expects to be able to allocate 2 million doses next week to jurisdictions.

Both Johnson & Johnson and federal officials have for weeks acknowledged that the company faces obstacles as it increased production in the United States, which encourages the administration to change its vaccination target.

Last year, states received specific allocations of both Pfizer and Moderna’s vaccine weeks before FDA approval.

“We plan to be ready when the EUA is approved. It’s not about getting ahead of the EUA, it’s just making sure we’ve locked everything in, so when the EUA decision comes, the distribution to the American people will be immediate within 24 hours, “General Gus Perna, head of the Trump administration’s vaccine deployment effort, told reporters last year.

By comparison, by this week, Biden administration officials had refused to give a specific number of doses they expected from Johnson & Johnson, much less what allocations the states should expect. Asked whether some of the doses would be allocated to pharmacies or other federal programs, the administration said only Monday that it is waiting to complete its strategy after the FDA and CDC have weighed in.

“Once we understand what the scientific community has to say, we will then be able to answer, in my opinion, the very relevant questions that we need the researchers’ advice on,” said the White House senior adviser. Andy Slavitt.

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