The White House COVID-19 Response Team held a briefing on Wednesday where Joe Biden's recently appointed COVID-19 response coordinator, Jeff Zients, told the public some news we weren't happy to hear. It looks like the U.S. government will only have a few million doses of Johnson & Johnson's (JNJ 0.91%) coronavirus vaccine candidate in inventory by the end of February.
Zients said Johnson & Johnson still has a deal to supply the U.S. with 100 million doses of its vaccine candidate by the end of June. Unfortunately, the U.S. only expects a sliver of that commitment in its inventory by the time the FDA is expected to issue an authorization decision.
Johnson & Johnson submitted a request for emergency use authorization (EUA) of its coronavirus vaccine candidate earlier this month. The FDA has scheduled a meeting of independent medical experts to publicly pick through all the data on Feb. 26. The agency is expected to issue an authorization decision shortly after the meeting.
Unlike currently authorized COVID-19 vaccines from Pfizer (PFE -0.15%) and Moderna (MRNA 8.73%), J&J's vaccine doesn't require a booster shot. During a phase 3 trial with more than 40,000 participants, J&J's vaccine was 66% effective at preventing moderate to severe COVID-19.
If authorized later this month J&J's vaccine candidate could accelerate a safe return to normal in time for the best summer ever. While J&J's vaccine candidate produced arguably less impressive clinical trial results than the competition, it's hardly a good reason to turn down a jab from J&J if given the opportunity. While it doesn't appear quite as effective at the prevention of symptomatic infection, it did demonstrate complete protection against COVID-19 related hospitalizations and deaths.