A Blog by Jonathan Low


Feb 24, 2021

Pfizer, Moderna, J and J Will Produce Enough In March To Vaccinate Half US Adults

The US expects to have enough vaccine to inoculate half of US adults within 30 days and enough to vaccinate the entire population - approximately 600 million doses, by mid-summer. JL

Sharon LaFraniere and David Sanger report in the New York Times:

Pfizer will ship 13 million doses per week by mid-March. Moderna expects to double its shipments to10 million per week by April. Johnson & Johnson is to deliver 20 million doses by the end of March. This week, the seven-day average rate of doses administered across the country was 1.4 million a day, after peaking at1.7 million before (winter) storms. The nation would have enough doses by the end of (March) to vaccinate 130 million Americans. That would cover half of all eligible adults and 40% of the population.

The White House said on Tuesday that weekly shipments of coronavirus vaccines to the states would rise by one million doses to 14.5 million, as vaccine manufacturers continue to ramp up production.

The figure was provided to governors in a call with Jeffrey Zeints, the president’s coronavirus response coordinator, said Jen Psaki, the White House press secretary, on Tuesday. With tens of millions of eligible Americans waiting to get shots, state officials have been clamoring for more vaccine, saying health practitioners could easily double or triple the number of shots they are administering.

Ms. Psaki said the increase was the fifth boost in distribution in five weeks, and said it came just short of doubling the vaccine shipments underway at the time Mr. Biden took office on Jan. 20.

Before snowstorms disrupted vaccine distribution last week, the average number of daily doses administered across the country had been steadily increasing as the two federally approved vaccine manufacturers, Pfizer and Moderna, get more efficient and expand production. While that acceleration was expected well before Mr. Biden assumed office, officials have been anxious to highlight every increase in shipments as evidence that the new administration is fiercely battling the pandemic. As of Tuesday, the seven-day average rate of doses administered across the country was 1.4 million a day, after peaking at about 1.7 million before the storms, according to a New York Times vaccine database.

Many vaccination appointments last week that were postponed by snowstorms and other disruptive weather are resuming this week. In Los Angeles, Mayor Eric Garcetti said vaccinations would start back up again on Tuesday at all of the city-run sites and indicated that people whose inoculations had been delayed by the weather would be given priority over those making new appointments.

At a congressional hearing Tuesday morning, top officials from Pfizer and Moderna reiterated previous supply commitments in front of lawmakers Both firms promised earlier this month to deliver a total of 400 million doses by the end of May, weeks ahead of schedule, and a total of 600 million by the end of July.

John Young, Pfizer’s chief business officer, testified that his firm will be able to ship more than 13 million doses per week by mid-March, compared to a weekly shipment of just four to five million at the start of this month. He cited a variety of reasons, including federal regulatory approval to count each vial as holding six doses instead of five, more efficient production processes and faster laboratory tests of the vaccine before it is shipped.

Dr. Stephen Hoge, president of Moderna, testified that his company expects to double its current shipments to more than 10 million per week by April.

More supply is expected to come from Johnson & Johnson, but not as quickly as federal officials initially had hoped. Federal regulators are widely expected to grant emergency use authorization for that vaccine by early next week.

Dr. Richard Nettles, a company vice president testified that the firm is prepared to deliver 20 million doses of its vaccine by the end of March. Of that, he said, nearly four million doses could be shipped as soon as the Food and Drug Administration gives the firm the green light. Unlike the other two authorized vaccines, Johnson & Johnson’s requires only one dose.

Dr. Nettles’s testimony was the first public indication by the company of how many doses it could supply before April.

His promise falls short of the 37 million doses that Johnson & Johnson’s federal contract called for it to deliver by the end of March. Asked what accounted for the gap, Dr. Nettles did not directly answer. But he implied that the company would catch up, saying the firm will deliver the entire 100 million doses it has promised by the end of June, as the contract requires.

Together with the deliveries from Moderna and Pfizer, which developed its vaccine with a German partner, BioNTech, the new supply from Johnson & Johnson would mean that the nation would have enough doses on hand by the end of next month to vaccinate about 130 million Americans. That would cover roughly half of all eligible adults and 40 percent of the total population.


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