J&J plans to have 100 million vaccines for Americans by spring, board member says

Johnson & Johnson board member Dr. Mark McClellan told CNBC that “if the clinical trial works out,” the company could significantly increase the nation’s Covid vaccine supply availability within the coming weeks. 

“I do know that J&J is making a very large supply, going all out with its production, both here in the U.S. and elsewhere around the world, with the goal of having perhaps enough vaccines for 100 million Americans by spring, by this April or so,” said the former FDA Commissioner in a Thursday evening interview on “The News with Shepard Smith.” 

During remarks at the White House on Thursday, the government’s top infectious disease doctor Anthony Fauci said that Johnson & Johnson would have enough data on its vaccine to begin analysis within a week or two. McClellan told host Shepard Smith that the most important thing for the company’s vaccine is the large scale clinical trial that is under way now.  

“The independent scientists who are overseeing that study should be taking a close look in the very near future based on those results, and we’ll see how fast the vaccine could go forward,” McClellan said. 

The U.S. is averaging about 883,000 jabs of the Covid vaccine per day, over the past six days, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Despite that, under 50% of the 37,960,000 doses distributed has made its way into people’s arms.

At least 12 states have reported vaccine shortages. Officials from San Francisco and New York warned that they could be completely out of doses this week. At least15 vaccination sites in New York City have temporarily closed. New York City Mayor Bill DeBlasio told NBC’s Gabe Gutierrez that at least 23,000 vaccine appointments will need to be rescheduled. 

McClellan noted that “the supply will be increasing, but not probably enough to keep up with the large number of Americans who really want to get vaccinated now.” He told Smith, however, that he thinks the Biden administration will be able help increase the speed of the vaccine rollout. 

“It’s going to be challenging, but I think the supply will be there over the next couple of months to vaccinate even more than 100 million Americans,” said McClellan, a health policy expert with Duke University.

President Joe Biden promised  a “full-scale, wartime effort” to combat the coronavirus pandemic and to accelerate vaccine production using the Defense Production Act during a briefing Thursday. 

“We’ve already identified suppliers and are working with them to move the plan forward,” Biden said. 

He added that the DPA would help fix issues with the supply chain, including a shortage of syringes.

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