The US will purchase 100 million more doses of Johnson & Johnson’s single-shot COVID-19 vaccine — doubling the number of shots ordered from the company, the White House said Wednesday.
“Today President Biden will direct the Health and Human Services team to procure an additional 100 million doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. This order allows for the president to plan for the future and the latter part of the year,” Andy Slavitt, senior adviser to Biden’s coronavirus response team, said at a coronavirus press briefing.
“This is wartime and, as facts still emerge, it gives us flexibility for our upcoming needs,” he said.
The shots will likely arrive in the second part of 2021 and won’t speed up Biden’s timeline goal of having enough doses for every adult American by the end of May, ABC reported, citing White House officials.
Instead, the extra Johnson & Johnson doses are meant to serve as a precaution against possible unknown virus developments — including the need for booster shots, jabs for children and doses used for researching COVID-19 variants, the outlet reported.
The White House has said it will have enough vaccine doses from Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson to vaccinate 260 million people — every adult in the US — by the end of May.
President Biden is expected to announce that he is directing the Department of Health and Human Services to purchase the extra doses at a meeting with executives from Johnson & Johnson and Merck Wednesday.
A total of 91 million Americans have already gotten at least one dose of a vaccine and 32 million are fully vaccinated, Slavitt said.