A spokesman for Johnson & Johnson declined to confirm the delay, but said the company is still “confident of our ability to meet our delivery obligations by 2021.”
“We are still in active discussions with regulators, including on the approval and validation of our production processes,” the spokesman said.
“Operation Warp Speed is working with Johnson & Johnson to scale up and maximize the production of the Janssen vaccine,” a spokesman for HHS said. “It’s too early to make projections at this point.”
Warp Speed co-director Moncef Slaoui on Monday referred to the slowdown in production and told reporters that the company was now on track for “single-digit million”
The New York Times first reported production delays.
The Johnson & Johnson vaccine is seen as crucial to accelerating the country’s efforts to end the pandemic, especially as it requires only a single dose. The shoots also do not need to be stored at temperatures below zero that require special freezers.
In contrast, the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines currently being distributed require two separate doses, complicating vaccination logistics for healthcare departments and providers to ensure patients return for their second shot.
But the Johnson & Johnson shot also uses an older approach that incorporates the coronavirus’ genetic information into a common virus, while Pfizer and Moderna use a new technology that uses messenger RNA to send instructions to the cells. While the mRNA approach was untested before these products, vaccine experts say it is easy to scale up quickly.