WASHINGTON — Johnson & Johnson is set to deliver 11 million doses of its single-shot Covid-19 vaccine to the U.S. next week, the White House announced, after concerns the company could fall short of its production goal of 20 million doses by the end of the month.
The U.S. received 4 million doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine shortly after it was cleared for use at the end of February. But since then there has been a lag in production as the manufacturer scaled up operations.
“We’ve done a lot to help J&J. We’re monitoring that very closely, and we anticipate a significant increase at the end of this month, which will enable them to hit at least 20 million doses,” said White House Covid coordinator Jeffrey Zients, speaking with only five days remaining in March.
The influx of the single-dose vaccine will give a boost to the Biden administration’s goal of administering 200 million shots in the president’s first 100 days — a goal that administration officials said they can meet if they keep their current pace of 2.5 million shots per day. Currently, 1 in 3 adults have been vaccinated, Zients said.
Because the Johnson & Johnson vaccine requires only a single dose, mass vaccination clinics with the shot are easy to conduct and require limited follow up.
Johnson & Jonson had production issues that the Biden administration helped address by brokering a deal between the company and rival drugmaker Merck to assist in producing the vaccine. Zients said he also expects Pfizer and Moderna to meet their goal of delivering 100 million doses each by the end of March.