“Assuming necessary regulatory approvals relating to our manufacturing processes, our plan is to begin shipping immediately upon emergency use authorization, and deliver enough single-doses by the end of March to enable the vaccination of more than 20 million Americans,” Richard Nettles, vice president of medical affairs for Johnson & Johnson’s pharmaceutical unit Janssen, told the House Energy and Commerce subcommittee. Nettles’ remarks were published ahead of the meeting.
The panel of lawmakers began hearing testimony from the five companies with contracts to supply COVID-19 shots to the U.S. — Pfizer, Moderna, Johnson & Johnson, AstraZeneca and Novavax– as the supply of vaccines remains short when compared to the increased demand for the coveted shots.
A Phase 3 trial of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine found that the effectiveness of its shot to combat moderate to severe COVID-19 infections was 72% in the United States, 66% in Latin America and 57% in South Africa, 28 days post-vaccination, according to the pharmaceutical company.
The news comes as South Africa continues to battle with a relatively new and powerful strain of coronavirus, B.1.315, that has since made its way to the U.S.
Nettles said the company is “confident” it can supply 100 million single-dose vaccines to the U.S. during the first half of 2021 despite “significant challenges” in scaling up production.
Johnson & Johnson recently announced it would team with French pharma giant Sanofi to use its facilities and ramp up vaccine production to bridge the narrowing supply gap.
Despite a significant shortage of vaccines from all of the drug providers, federal health officials say a total of 700 million doses is expected to be delivered to the U.S. by late July. That would be enough to reach the goal of providing enough shots for every American adult.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.