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White House to roll out Johnson & Johnson vaccine doses next week, pending authorization

Workers walk outside Johnson & Johnson subsidiary Janssen Pharmaceutical in Geel, Belgium, Wednesday, Feb. 3, 2021. Johnson & Johnson has produced a one-shot COVID-19 vaccine which, according to a recent study, provides good protection against the illness. (The Associated Press)

The United States expects to roll out three to four million doses of Johnson & Johnson's COVID-19 vaccine next week, pending authorization from the Food and Drug Administration, White House COVID-19 response coordinator Jeff Zients said on Wednesday (Feb. 23).

A Johnson & Johnson executive on Tuesday said the company expected to ship nearly 4 million doses of the vaccine once it gained authorization.

The additional vaccine will help President Joe Biden's administration in its goal of ramping up vaccination across the country as it seeks to control the pandemic that has cost more than 500,000 lives in the United States and pummeled the economy.

Zients described J&J's manufacturing as being behind schedule when the new president took over from former President Donald Trump.

"It was disappointing when we arrived. I think the progress is real and we look forward to continuing to work with the company to accelerate ... their delivery and their capacity," Zients told a briefing.

The FDA said on Wednesday that the Johnson & Johnson one-dose vaccine appeared safe and effective in trials, paving the way for its approval for emergency use as soon as this week.

The company has a contract to deliver 100 million doses to the United States by the end of June. Zients said the administration was working to accelerate that timeline.

The Biden administration told governors this week that it would allocate about 2 million doses of the first J&J distribution to states. The remainder will go to federal distribution programs, like the federal pharmacy and community health center programs, Zients said.

(Source: Reuters)

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