President Joe Biden hold a press announcement with J&J and Merck’s chief executive officers at the White House on March 10 at 3 p.m. to announce that the federal government is buying another 100 million single-shot COVID-19 vaccine doses from New Brunswick drugmaker Johnson & Johnson, according to various media reports.
J&J already has an agreement with the Biden administration to provide 100 million doses by June. Previously, the White House brokered a deal between rival New Jersey drugmakers J&J and Merck, to let J&J use two of Merck’s manufacturing facilities to double its vaccine production.
The addition of 100 million new doses, plus the rollout of the two-dose Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, would put the number of available doses by the summer well beyond the estimated 331 million people living in the United States.
The president already assured this month that thanks to the J&J vaccine, the federal government would have enough vaccines by May for every American to get inoculated against COVID-19.
In the Garden State, Gov. Phil Murphy said that vaccine availability would explode around Easter, which is at the start of April.
“Either side of Easter… I believe the supplies of not just J&J, but Pfizer and Moderna, are going to explode. We will be in a dramatically quantum different place,” the governor said at a March 3 COVID-19 press briefing in Trenton. “You’re going to have [a] breakout of supplies in April and May.”
The roll-back of business and public gathering restrictions and eventual repeal of the statewide mass mandate is incumbent on a successful statewide vaccination.
State health officials are aiming to have 4.7 million adults vaccinated by June, and as of March 9 the state administered nearly 1.7 million first vaccine doses and nearly 870,000-second doses.
It is not immediately clear how many of those doses are the J&J vaccine, but Murphy and other health officials contend that the number will be limited for most of March.
Murphy said last week that he expects a “much more normal summer” on the Jersey Shore in the coming months, as the state coasts down from the second wave and vaccine efforts are ramped up.
But, he maintained on March 5, “if it weren’t for the variants, I think we would be moving aggressively sooner.”
There are 139 positive cases tied back to the variants as of March 9, most of them from the B117 variant first detected in the United Kingdom, according to the state Health Department’s COVID-19 dashboard.l