Johnson & Johnson’s coronavirus vaccine began distribution across the country Monday, and the company’s CEO said shots could begin within 48 hours.
“We’re shipping 4 million [doses] literally as we speak,” Johnson & Johnson CEO Alex Gorsky told NBC News Monday morning. “Within the next 24 to 48 hours, Americans should start receiving shots in arms.”
Gorsky added that the company was on track to distribute 100 million shots by the end of June and 1 billion by the end of 2021. Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine was recommended by the FDA’s vaccine advisory panel on Friday and officially approved one day later.
Nearly 4 million doses of Johnson and Johnson's newly authorized (for emergency use) COVID-19 vaccine are being shipped this AM.— Alexandra Leslie (@AlexandraLeslie) March 1, 2021
At the top of the hour on @wpri12, where Rhode Island stands in approving the vaccine for use here & what experts want to remind you about J&J's data. pic.twitter.com/xbbzl7j39d
Unlike Pfizer and Moderna’s vaccines, both approved in December, Johnson & Johnson’s is just one dose, meaning that it could effectively alleviate supply shortages reported by multiple states and localities. It can also be stored in normal refrigerators instead of ultra-cold freezers, making it much easier to distribute.
Johnson & Johnson said in January that its vaccine was 72% effective against the virus in the United States, 85% effective against severe virus cases and 100% effective against hospitalization and death. The vaccine, however, was less effective against the coronavirus in South Africa, where a mutated, highly transmissible strain has become dominant.
Though the vaccine was only approved for people 18 and older, Gorsky said that Johnson & Johnson is testing its vaccine on children ages 12-18 and pregnant women, with results expected later in 2021.
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