Biden says vaccine supply not impacted by J&J pause
President Biden on Tuesday maintained that the decision to pause the administration of Johnson & Johnson’s coronavirus vaccine will not impact the country’s vaccine supply.
“My message to the American people on the vaccine is, I told y’all I made sure we have 600 million doses” of the mRNA vaccines from Moderna and Pfizer, Biden said in the Oval Office.
“There is enough vaccine, that is basically 100 percent unquestionable, for every single solitary American,” Biden added.
Biden’s comments echo those from top health officials, who also sought to reassure the public that the overall U.S. vaccination effort will not be impacted.
“Let me start by saying this announcement will not have a significant impact on our vaccination program,” White House coronavirus response coordinator Jeff Zients said during a White House briefing. “The J&J vaccine makes up less than 5 percent of the more 190 million reported shots in arms in the United States to date.”
The vast majority of the U.S. supply currently comes from Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech, and there are 28 million doses going out this week.
But officials have been counting on an increase in Johnson & Johnson doses in the coming month. The company had promised 100 million doses by the end of May, and its vaccine — the only one-dose vaccine with emergency authorization in the U.S. — is meant to play an important part in getting every American, including children, vaccinated.
Federal regulators on Tuesday called for a pause on the use of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine because of rare cases of blood clots in vaccinated people.
Many states and at least two major pharmacy chains said they would halt use of Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine in response to the move.
There were six reported cases in women between the ages of 18 and 48 and all developed the illness within one to three weeks of vaccination.
Administration officials said the pause is not anticipated to last for long. Scientists will continue to examine the evidence, and an emergency meeting of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s vaccine advisory committee is scheduled for Wednesday.
“It’s going to be more like days to weeks, rather than weeks to months,” Anthony Fauci, Biden’s chief medical adviser, said Tuesday.