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3 Reasons Not to Buy Johnson & Johnson Stock Just Because Its COVID Vaccine Pause Was Lifted

By Keith Speights - Apr 27, 2021 at 6:01AM

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There are other factors to consider.

The pause on the administration of Johnson & Johnson's (JNJ 1.13%) COVID-19 vaccine has been lifted. Ten days after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) jointly called for a pause over concerns about rare blood clots, the two agencies reversed course. 

Some investors could be tempted to scoop up shares of the healthcare giant on this news. However, here are three reasons not to buy J&J stock just because its COVID vaccine pause was lifted.

Gloved hands holding a syringe with needle and a vaccine vial

Image source: Getty Images.

1. There won't be a near-term financial boost

To be sure, it's great news for Johnson & Johnson that its vaccine will again be administered. However, don't expect any financial boost for the company over the near term.

J&J already had a deal with the U.S. government to supply 200 million doses of its COVID-19 vaccine. That agreement wasn't impacted by the temporary pause. Remember, too, that the company still faces some manufacturing issues after up to 15 million doses of its vaccine produced at a facility run by Emergent BioSolutions had to be discarded.

More importantly, the company's opportunity to secure an even larger supply deal with the U.S. this year has likely gone away. After increasing its orders with Pfizer (PFE -0.23%) and Moderna (MRNA 4.97%), the U.S. government has more than enough COVID-19 vaccine doses to fully vaccinate the American public in 2021.

2. J&J's COVID vaccine could face other challenges over the long term

The rare blood clotting issues linked with Johnson & Johnson's COVID-19 vaccine by themselves probably won't be a major obstacle preventing the company from winning supply deals in the future. However, the vaccine could face other challenges over the long term.

There are two big pluses for J&J's COVID vaccine right now. First, it requires only a single dose. Second, it's inexpensive since the company is selling the vaccine at cost during the pandemic. However, those advantages won't last forever.

Johnson & Johnson will want to increase its price at some point in the not-too-distant future to be able to make a profit on its vaccine. Also, it's probable that going forward only single-shot boosters will be required for Pfizer's and Moderna's vaccines. With both vaccines offering much higher efficacy than J&J's vaccine, these rivals could be in a better position to secure supply agreements than Johnson & Johnson will.

It's also possible that the messenger RNA (mRNA) approach used by Pfizer and Moderna will enable the companies to more easily target emerging coronavirus variants than Johnson & Johnson will be able to do with its adenovirus approach. This could put J&J at a competitive disadvantage after the pandemic ends.

3. There are better reasons to buy the stock

The most compelling reason why investors shouldn't buy Johnson & Johnson stock just because its COVID-19 vaccine pause has been lifted is that there are much better reasons to buy the stock. 

For income-seeking investors, Johnson & Johnson's dividend offers a great reason to consider the stock. J&J is a Dividend King with a remarkable 59 consecutive years of dividend increases. Its dividend currently yields nearly 2.6%.

Johnson & Johnson also provides a relatively safe and easy way to invest in the overall growth of the healthcare sector. Its businesses span much of healthcare, from consumer health to medical devices to pharmaceuticals. J&J ranks as the largest healthcare company in the world. The company continues to reinvest a significant amount of its profits into research and development and business development deals to stay on top.

It remains to be seen how much commercial success Johnson & Johnson's COVID-19 vaccine will achieve over the long run. However, this stock appears to be in a good position to deliver solid returns for investors regardless of how the vaccine performs.

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Stocks Mentioned

Johnson & Johnson Stock Quote
Johnson & Johnson
$179.52 (1.13%) $2.01
Pfizer Inc. Stock Quote
Pfizer Inc.
$52.31 (-0.23%) $0.12
Emergent BioSolutions Inc. Stock Quote
Emergent BioSolutions Inc.
$31.83 (2.54%) $0.79
Moderna, Inc. Stock Quote
Moderna, Inc.
$149.95 (4.97%) $7.10

*Average returns of all recommendations since inception. Cost basis and return based on previous market day close.

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