A spokesperson for Johnson & Johnson declined to confirm the delay, but said the company remained “confident in our ability to meet our 2021 supply commitments.”
“We remain in active discussions with regulators, including on the approval and validation of our manufacturing processes,” the spokesperson said.
“Operation Warp Speed is working with Johnson & Johnson to increase and maximize the manufacture of the Janssen vaccine,” an HHS spokesperson said. “Projecting right now is premature.”
Warp Speed co-director Moncef Slaoui hinted at the production slowdown on Monday, telling reporters the company is now on track for “single-digit millions” doses by the second half of the year. from February. The company will have “a much larger number” by April, he added.
The New York Times first reported the production delays.
The Johnson & Johnson vaccine is seen as essential in accelerating the country’s efforts to end the pandemic, especially because it only requires a single dose. The plans also do not need to be stored at sub-zero temperatures which require special freezers.
In contrast, the currently distributed Pfizer and Moderna vaccines require two separate doses, which complicates the logistics of inoculation for health departments and providers who must ensure that patients return for their second injection.
But Johnson & Johnson’s shot also uses an older approach that integrates genetic information from the coronavirus into a common virus, while Pfizer and Moderna are using new technology that uses messenger RNA to send instructions to cells. While the mRNA approach was not proven before these products, vaccine experts say it’s easy to scale up quickly.