Americans should be able to receive Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccine within the next 24 to 48 hours, its chief executive said on Monday after U.S. regulators approved the vaccine, making it the country’s third available one for the novel coronavirus.
The drugmaker was still on track to deliver 4 million vaccine doses this week, J&J CEO Alex Gorsky told NBC News’ Today program in an interview.
“Within the next 24 to 28 hours, Americans should start receiving shots in arms. They’re literally rolling out with the trucks as we speak,” he said.
By the end of March, J&J has said it expects to deliver 20 million doses to the U.S., and 100 million by summer.
The FDA said J&J’s vaccine offers strong protection against what matters most: serious illness, hospitalizations and death. One dose was 85 per cent protective against the most severe COVID-19 illness, in a massive study that spanned three continents — protection that remained strong even in countries such as South Africa, where the variants of most concern are spreading.
“The more vaccines that have high efficacy that we can get into play, the better,” Dr. Anthony Fauci, the top U.S. infectious disease expert, said ahead of the FDA’s ruling.
Shares of the pharmaceutical company were up 2.9% in premarket trading after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved its one-shot COVID-19 vaccine on Saturday. McKesson Corp earlier on Monday said it had begun distributing it.
Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna Inc have FDA-approved two-dose vaccines. Unlike those vaccines, J&J’s version requires no refrigeration and only a single dose is needed, potentially facilitating wider use.
J&J also is seeking authorization for emergency use of its vaccine in Europe and from the World Health Organization. Worldwide, the company aims to produce about 1 billion doses globally by the end of the year. On Thursday, the island nation of Bahrain became the first to clear its use.
— with files from the Associated Press and Global NewsView link »