“We have done a lot to help J&J. We are monitoring this very closely and expect a significant increase by the end of this month that will allow them to hit at least 20 million doses,” Zients told reporters.
Context: Zients’ announcement came as a surprise as White House officials on a private phone call told governors that the states should only receive about 2 million J&J doses, with about 1.5 million shots going to the federal retail pharmacy program.
J&J spent the week pushing back claims that it would fail to deliver on its promise while the company waited for the Food and Drug Administration to unlock two partners, Emergent BioSolutions and Catalent, to manufacture the vaccine.
The fill-finish facility in Catalonia was cleared this week and the company began shipping vaccines on Wednesday.
What’s next: Zients said he had already informed governors and federal partners that the supply would increase, and attributed J & J’s sluggish start to the fact that it is still early in the manufacturing process. He said the company will “see a more regular cadence” in deliveries in the coming weeks.
Zients’ comments came a day after President Joe Biden doubled his vaccination goal to 200 million shots fired within his first 100 days. He said the federal government will send more vaccines into the field to increase the number of daily shots.