According to Dr. Johnson & Johnson board member Mark McClellan expects the company to have 20 million doses by the end of March as the US is just one step away from adding a third safe and effective vaccine to its arsenal.
“There will be a ramp-up, so 4 million doses are expected next week, rising in March, with 20 million doses dispensed by the end of March,” the former FDA commissioner said in an interview Friday night on The News with Shepard Smith. ” “So that’s 20 million people who are fully vaccinated because it’s just one dose of the vaccine.”
A panel of advisors to the Food and Drug Administration unanimously voted late Friday to recommend Johnson & Johnson’s single-dose shot for approval for emergency use. The FDA will decide on Saturday whether the vaccine will be approved. A recommendation from advisors to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention would enable three to four million doses to be delivered next week.
McClellan told The News with Shepard Smith that the addition of the J&J vaccine will take the US a big step forward in fighting the coronavirus pandemic and protecting millions of people from the virus.
“That comes on top of some additions to the Pfizer and Moderna vaccine offering. They expect almost 90 million, 100 million doses … it’s a two-dose vaccine, but it all adds up to that we can get this far. ” At least 100 million people here in the US had been vaccinated by the end of March, “said McClellan, a health policy expert at Duke University.
Nationwide, average daily cases, hospitalizations and deaths have been going down for weeks, but Rochelle Walensky, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said recent declines could flatten out.
“We may be through with the virus, but the virus clearly isn’t through with us,” Walensky said. “We cannot take it easy or give in to a false sense of security that the worst pandemic is behind us. Not now, not when mass vaccination is so close.”
The CDC director added that we may begin to see the effects of the new, contagious variants of Covid that are spreading across the country. McClellan agreed with Walensky, warning that “we should be concerned” when it comes to the new variants, but doubled the importance of vaccinations.
“The good news is that the vaccines offer really strong protection against the variants. The best way to contain the variants is to get as many people as possible vaccinated as soon as possible,” said McClellan.