Once it is authorized, the rollout of the Johnson and Johnson vaccine will be slower than federal health officials initially anticipated, CNN has learned.
The administration is still expecting single digit millions of doses if the Johnson and Johnson vaccine is authorized for emergency use by the Food and Drug Administration. However — due to a miscommunication over the production timeline — government officials thought that number would ramp up to between 20 or 30 million doses by April. They are now expecting fewer than 20 million Johnson and Johnson doses in April, an administration official told CNN.
This delays their expectations by about a month. Officials do still expect to get 100 million doses by the end of June to the beginning of July.
On a call with governors Tuesday, the administration said the initial flow of J&J vaccine would be in the low millions and then would ramp up substantially, according to a source familiar with the call.
Johnson and Johnson did not directly address the slower vaccine rollout, but said in a statement, “Johnson & Johnson intends to distribute vaccine to the U.S. government immediately following authorization, and expects to supply 100 million doses to the U.S. in the first half of 2021. The Company expects to have product available to ship immediately following authorization.”
Some context: Earlier Tuesday, Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told CNN’s Jim Sciutto that it could be mid to late May or early June before vaccines are widely available to the general population after he offered an earlier timeline last week.
“I was hoping that that would be by the end of April,” Fauci said. “That was predicated on J&J, the Johnson product, having considerably more doses than now we know they’re going to have.”
“So, that timeline will probably be prolonged, maybe into mid to late May and early June, that’s fine,” Fauci said.
The FDA has scheduled its meeting of independent experts to evaluate the Johnson & Johnson vaccine and make a recommendation on Feb. 26. It has not been authorized yet.