Johnson & Johnson’s Covid-19 vaccine began shipping Monday morning and Americans would start receiving the single-dose vaccine within 24 to 48 hours, the company CEO said.
The vaccine is “on trucks as we speak,” Johnson & Johnson CEO Alex Gorsky told NBC’s “TODAY”.
“We are literally shipping 4 million as we speak,” Gorsky said. “Within 24 to 48 hours, Americans should start being shot.”
He added that 100 million snapshots are expected to be distributed by June and one billion by the end of the year. And a billion doses of the vaccine means a billion people vaccinated since the Johnson & Johnson vaccine is given in a single dose. The other available vaccines, from Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna, are given in two doses each, three to four weeks apart.
The vaccine, which the Food and Drug Administration granted emergency use approval on Saturday, is also the easiest to store, as it can be stored in a refrigerator rather than a freezer.
Although the vaccine is 66% effective overall, the vaccine works 85% of the time against serious illness and is 100% effective in preventing hospitalization and death.
Clinical trials were done when cases were at their peak, and some were conducted in South America, where a dangerous variant has spread.
Dr Anthony Fauci said on Sunday that the country now has three “highly effective vaccines” that offer significant protection against Covid-19. He urged Americans to choose whichever is available to them when they become eligible.
Although the Johnson & Johnson vaccine is given as a single dose, the company is studying the impact of a second dose.
Johnson & Johnson will also begin to study the safety of the vaccine in pregnant women and children over 12, Gorsky said.