Johnson & Johnson is gearing up to deliver 20 million doses of its new coronavirus vaccine to the U.S. government by the end of March and is “confident” of being able to supply 100 million of the single-dose shots during the first half of 2021, a company official is expected to testify to a House subcommittee Tuesday.
Richard Nettles, vice president of medical affairs for the company’s pharmaceutical unit Janssen, plans to tell a House Energy & Commerce subcommittee that “assuming necessary regulatory approvals relating to our manufacturing processes,” the plan is to begin shipping the vaccines “immediately upon emergency use authorization, and deliver enough single-doses by the end of March to enable the vaccination of more than 20 million Americans,” reports Politico.
The House panel on Tuesday will also hear statements from executives from vaccine makers Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZeneca, and Novavax on how they are increasing production to meet U.S. vaccine demands. Pfizer and Moderna have already pledged 300 million vaccine doses each this year.
Johnson & Johnson has applied to the Food and Drug Administration for emergency authorization, which could occur as early as this weekend. An FDA expert panel will meet on Friday to discuss the safety and effectiveness of the vaccine.
“We are confident in our plans to deliver 100 million single-dose vaccines to the United States during the first half of 2021, and we are continuing to partner with the U.S. government to explore all options to accelerate delivery,” Nettles will tell the subcommittee.
However, White House officials had warned that production problems would limit the supply of the vaccine, even though the company says it will meet its agreement to supply the country with 100 million doses before the end of June.
The Johnson & Johnson vaccine has shown to be 66% effective against COVID-19 in tests, but just 57% effective in a South Africa trial, where a variant of the virus has widely spread. The strain has already been reported in 10 U.S. states.