Johnson & Johnson board member Dr. Mark McClellan says the company expects 20 million doses delivered by the end of March as the U.S. becomes one step away from adding a third safe and effective vaccine to its arsenal.
“There is going to be a ramp-up period, so 4 million doses expected next week, going higher during the month of March with 20 million doses delivered by the end of March,” said the former FDA Commissioner in a Friday evening interview on “The News with Shepard Smith.” “So that’s 20 million people fully vaccinated since it’s just one dose for the vaccine.”
A panel of Food and Drug Administration advisors late Friday voted unanimously to recommend Johnson & Johnson’s single-dose shot for emergency use authorization. The FDA will decide as early as Saturday whether to approve the vaccine. A recommendation from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advisers would activate three to four million doses to get shipped out next week.
McClellan told “The News with Shepard Smith” that the addition of the J&J vaccine will move the U.S. a big step forward when it comes to addressing the coronavirus pandemic and protecting millions of people from the virus.
“That’s coming on top of some expansions in the supply from the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, they’re expecting close to 90 million, 100 million doses … it’s a two-dose vaccine, but that all together means we could get to as many as 100 million people or more vaccinated by the end of March here in the United States,” said McClellan, a health policy expert with Duke University.
Nationwide, average daily cases, hospitalizations, and deaths have been declining for weeks, but Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Rochelle Walensky said the recent drops may be levelling off.
“We may be done with the virus, but clearly the virus is not done with us,” said Walensky. “We cannot get comfortable or give in to a false sense of security that the worst of the pandemic is behind us. Not now, not when mass vaccination is so very close”
The CDC Director added that we could be starting to see the effects of the new, more contagious Covid variants spreading across the country. McClellan agreed with Walensky and warned that “we should be concerned” when it comes to the new variants, but doubled down on the importance of vaccinations.
“The good news is the vaccines seem to provide some really strong protection against the variants, the best way to contain the variants is for as many people to get vaccinated as quickly as possible,” McClellan said.