Johnson & Johnson said Monday that it plans to have enough doses of its vaccine for more than 20 million Americans by the end of March if its vaccine is cleared by the Food and Drug Administration.
The vaccine is eagerly awaited as the next in line to join the COVID-19 vaccines already in use at Pfizer and Moderna. An FDA advisory committee will meet Friday to consider the application, and the emergency clearance could come shortly thereafter.
The company for the first time on Monday gave some specificity about the number of doses it will have immediately available. The vaccine, unlike those of Pfizer and Moderna, only requires one dose, so 20 million doses would fully vaccinate 20 million people.
“Assuming the necessary regulatory approvals related to our manufacturing processes, our plan is to begin shipping immediately after emergency use authorization and deliver enough single doses by the end of March to allow vaccination of more than 20 million Americans,” Richard Nettles, vice president of US medical affairs for Janssen Pharmaceuticals, a part of Johnson & Johnson, in prepared remarks for the House Committee on Energy and Commerce. The comments were posted online by the committee ahead of Tuesday’s hearing with various vaccine manufacturers.
The company also said it is still on track to have 100 million doses by the end of the first half of the year.
Johnson & Johnson doses, assuming FDA clearance, can help speed up the vaccination program by adding them to the doses already available from Pfizer and Moderna, and needing just one dose can simplify the process.
White House officials had previously said they didn’t expect many doses of Johnson & Johnson right away.
Separately, Pfizer is also increasing its offering. John Young, the company’s chief commercial officer, said in testimony released by the committee that the company will be able to increase production to 13 million doses per week in mid-March, from 4 to 5 million per week in early February. .
The company says it is still on track for 120 million doses by the end of March and 200 million doses by the end of May.