Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccine has encountered a production problem – potentially delaying the delivery of millions of life-saving vaccines by two months, according to a report released Wednesday.
The pharmaceutical giant, which has pledged to make 12 million single doses available by the end of February, warned health officials the company was behind schedule, according to Politico.
It may now take Johnson & Johnson until the end of April to catch up with that original screening, a person briefed on the matter told the outlet.
But a representative for the pharmaceutical giant denied it was experiencing a production slowdown – saying the company was “confident in our ability to meet our 2021 supply commitments.”
“We remain in active discussions with regulators, including on the approval and validation of our manufacturing processes,” said the representative. “Operation Warp Speed is working with Johnson & Johnson to scale up and maximize the manufacture of the Janssen vaccine… Projecting at this time is premature.”
On Monday, Operation Warp Speed co-director Moncef Slaoui hinted that there may be a delay in Johnson & Johnson’s initial target of 12 million, saying doses of “single-digit millions Would probably be delivered by the second half of February.
The company, which has pledged to release 100 million doses by the end of June, will seek emergency FDA approval for its COVID-19 vaccine candidate later this month.
The Johnson & Johnson vaccine is considered essential in fighting the pandemic in part because it only requires a single dose – and does not need to be stored at sub-zero temperatures.
In contrast, Pfizer and Moderna vaccines require two separate doses. Pfizer vaccine should be stored at minus 94 degrees Fahrenheit.