The first shots of Johnson & Johnson’s coronavirus vaccine could be administered as early as Tuesday, senior Biden administration officials said Sunday.
The drugmaker, which got sign off over the weekend for emergency use of its vaccine from both the Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, is expected to deliver 4 million shots this week.
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Officials said that after that, however, they expect deliveries to be “uneven” through March.
By the end of March, Johnson & Johnson plans to have delivered 20 million shots. The company has promised to distribute 100 million doses by summer.
Dr. Rochelle Walensky, director of the CDC, signed off Sunday on an advisory committee’s recommendation to endorse the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
She said the shots are coming at a “potentially pivotal time.”
“CDC’s latest data suggest that recent declines in Covid-19 cases may be stalling and potentially leveling off at still very high numbers,” Walensky said in a statement.
The Johnson & Johnson vaccine is for adults 18 and older. It is the only single-dose shot for the virus.
Vaccines from Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna require two shots, three to four weeks apart.
All three vaccines are “highly efficacious,” Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said Sunday on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” and he encouraged people to take whatever vaccine is offered.
“If you go to a place and you have J&J and that’s the one that’s available now, I would take it. I personally would do the same thing,” Fauci said. “I think people need to get vaccinated as quickly and as expeditiously as possible.”
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Erika Edwards is a health and medical news writer and reporter for NBC News and “TODAY.”