Speed Reads

the coronavirus crisis

White House surprisingly announces Johnson & Johnson is on track to meet vaccine goal

The White House has announced that Johnson & Johnson is on track to meet its goal of delivering 20 million doses of its COVID-19 vaccine in the United States by the end of the month, something officials were reportedly unsure would be achieved.

White House coronavirus response coordinator Jeff Zients during a briefing on Friday said that Johnson & Johnson will deliver at least 11 million doses of its single-shot COVID-19 vaccine to the government next week, Politico reports.

"We've done a lot to help J&J, we're monitoring that very closely, and we anticipate a significant increase at the end of this month, which will enable them to reach at least 20 million doses," Zients said.

Johnson & Johnson had planned to deliver 20 million doses of its vaccine by the end of March after it received FDA approval. But CNN recently reported that Biden administration officials were "not confident" this goal would be met after the company "struggled to ramp up production."

The White House's announcement Friday was a surprise, then, with CNN's Kaitlan Collins noting that the goal had "been in doubt as of just a few days ago, given less than half the 20 million had gone out." Indeed, according to Politico, the administration on Tuesday said it only had four million doses of the vaccine to deliver. Unlike the other vaccines that have been approved in the U.S., Johnson & Johnson's comes with the key benefit of only requiring one dose.

The announcement came one day after President Biden announced he's setting a new goal of getting 200 million COVID-19 vaccine doses administered during his first 100 days in office, double his previous goal of 100 million doses, which was met weeks early. The U.S. is on track to meet this new goal.