U.S. Expects to Have Enough Vaccine Supply Despite J&J Pause

The U.S. expects to have enough coronavirus vaccine to meet U.S. demand by May despite a planned pause in the use of Johnson & Johnson’s shot after six women who received it developed a rare and severe form of blood clotting.

Production of vaccines from Pfizer Inc. and Moderna Inc. should be adequate to satisfy U.S. demand, one official said, speaking on condition of anonymity, as signs emerge that the U.S. is beginning to shift from a shortage of shots to a shortage of willing recipients.

The White House said there’s enough vaccine to continue giving shots at their current pace. “This announcement will not have a significant impact on our vaccination plan,” said Jeff Zients, the White House Covid-19 response coordinator, in a statement.

President Joe Biden had pledged to have enough shots by the end of May for all U.S. adults, a plan that assumed supply from J&J. Continuing to administer shots at the current pace is a lower threshold.

In the U.S., Pfizer and Moderna make up about 95% of weekly being allocated as of now, with J&J accounting for the rest. In recent weeks, the U.S. has made available more than 25 million doses of Pfizer and Moderna each week, and this week expects to have 28 million doses available, according to Zients.

“This is more than enough supply to continue the current pace of vaccinations of 3 million shots per day, and meet the president’s goal of 200 million shots by his 100th day in office – and continue on to reach every adult who wants to be vaccinated,” Zients said.

The decision to pause use of J&J comes at a crucial juncture in the U.S. vaccination effort, which has been gaining speed in recent weeks at the same time that a worsening outbreak driven by coronavirus variants is gripping the upper Midwest. And it is likely to heighten worry about vaccines around the world after similar issues caused delays in distribution of AstraZeneca Plc’s shot.

With the J&J vaccine, a type of brain blood clot called cerebral venous sinus thrombosis was seen with low levels of blood platelets in the women, who were all between the ages of 18 and 48, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Food and Drug Administration said on Tuesday in a joint statement.

©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

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