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Johnson & Johnson Covid-19 vaccine shortage to hit U.S. next week

Photo courtesy of Jessica Hill / AP file

Just 700,000 doses have been allocated for delivery next week, compared to the 4.9 million doses that were distributed across the country this week, The Wall Street Journal reported.

Posted: Apr 9, 2021 2:51 PM

NBC News- Shipments of the single-dose Johnson & Johnson Covid-19 vaccine are expected to be down by 80 percent nationwide next week as the company struggles with manufacturing problems, the Biden Administration reported Friday.

Just 700,000 doses have been allocated, compared to the 4.9 million doses that were distributed across the country this week,White House Covid-19 coordinator Jeff Zients confirmed.

Johnson & Johnson will be delivering fewer vaccine doses next week, but Zients did not say how many although he insisted the company expects to be able to deliver 8 million doses per week by the end of April.

Zients also said Johnson & Johnson is in the process of installing a new management team at the Baltimore facility run by its manufacturing partner Emergent BioSolutions, which is where the vaccine production snafus have happened.

"The company is doing everything it can," Zients said. "They have their best people at that plant."

Johnson & Johnson spokeswoman Lisa Cannellos confirmed the company was working with the federal Food and Drug Administration to secure an emergency use authorization to get the plant up and running.

"The Company expects to deliver nearly 100 million single-shot doses of its Covid-19 vaccine to the U.S. government by the end of May," Cannellos said in a statement.

The dramatic drop in Johnson & Johnson shots was first reported by The Wall Street Journal.

The J&J shot was expected to significantly boost the pace at which Americans become fully vaccinated because it requires only a single shot.

While the pharma giant is based in New Brunswick, New Jersey, the vaccines are manufactured in Baltimore. Emergent BioSolutions has also been making the AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccines.

But up to 15 million doses of Johnson & Johnson vaccine were ruined when Emergent BioSolutions workers mixed up the ingredients of the two vaccines. And a week ago the company reported that a batch of its key vaccine ingredient didn't meet quality control standards at a Baltimore facility.

Zients said from now on, only the Johnson & Johnson vaccine will be manufactured at that plant.

Last week, two Biden administration officials assured NBC News that this setback would not affect their timeline to have enough doses for the U.S. adult population by the end of May.

The Johnson & Johnson vaccine was shown to be 86 percent effective in preventing severe forms of Covid-19. It received emergency use authorization from the Food and Drug Administration in late February.

The company rolled out about 4 million doses almost immediately, but shipments have fluctuated significantly since then.

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