Johnson & Johnson hopes to have enough COVID-19 vaccines for 100 million Americans by April as the feds ramp up nationwide inoculation efforts, a company official says.
The New Jersey-based drugmaker is “going all out with its production” while it awaits results from a large-scale clinical trial that could allow the shot to be approved for emergency use in the coming weeks, according to Dr. Mark McClellan, a J&J board member and former Food and Drug Administration commissioner.
“I do know that J&J is making a very large supply … with the goal of having perhaps enough vaccines for 100 million Americans by spring, by this April or so,” McClellan told CNBC Thursday evening. “That’s going to make a big difference in supply availability over the coming weeks and months if the trial does work out.”
J&J expects to release data late this month from the Phase 3 trial of its single-dose coronavirus vaccine, which was shown to generate an immune response to COVID-19 in an early-stage study.
The company will then seek an emergency use authorization from the FDA, which would allow it to be administered across the country like the existing shots from Pfizer and Moderna.
But the pharma firm has reportedly grappled with production snags that caused it to fall behind on its goal of making 12 million doses available by the end of February. J&J has nevertheless said it’s “confident” that it will be able to meet its supply commitments this year.
While vaccine supplies in general will be growing, it will be tough to “keep up with the large number of Americans who really want to get vaccinated now,” McClellan said.
Less than half of the roughly 38 million doses distributed so far have gotten into Americans’ arms, according to federal data, and officials in places such as New York City have warned of shortages.
President Biden’s administration “set a goal of a million doses per day,” McClellan told CNBC. “We’ve actually been at that level for the last couple of days and I think people are going to expect a higher level of vaccine distribution and administration.”