US still expects to meet vaccine target despite Johnson & Johnson issues

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The US still expects to meet its target for delivering COVID-19 vaccines despite Johnson & Johnson struggling with production, a White House senior aide said Monday.

Andy Slavitt, a senior adviser to President Biden’s coronavirus response team, said that the drugmaker is still on track to deliver 24 million doses in April.

“You can expect even without additional doses from Johnson & Johnson for us to be somewhere in that neighborhood,” Slavitt said at a coronavirus press briefing.

“You do the math. There is plenty of supply to continue to vaccinate Americans at 3 million per day, and then some. That’s not to mention the fact that there are many doses that have already been distributed into states.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention had said that deliveries of the vaccine were to plummet this week by more than 80 percent, though the cause is unclear.

Some state officials blamed a contract plant in Baltimore, where at least 15 million shots were tainted when workers reportedly mixed up ingredients with another shot.

But the manufacturing plant wasn’t authorized to supply doses yet anyway and is currently waiting on approval from US regulators.

“We are pleased by the fact that Johnson and Johnson in the meantime has taken control of the plant, has eliminated the confounding factor of another vaccine being produced there,” Slavitt said.

“And they remain confident that they’re going to be able to deliver at or near 24 million this month and over or close to 100 million by May.”

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