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Pfizer, Moderna, J&J pledge 240 million total Covid-19 vaccine doses by the end of March

The United States can expect to see a total of 240 million doses of Covid-19 vaccine by the end of March, drug companies told a House subcommittee Tuesday....

Posted: Feb 24, 2021 1:42 AM

The United States can expect to see a total of 240 million doses of Covid-19 vaccine by the end of March, drug companies told a House subcommittee Tuesday.

Pfizer and Moderna -- the two companies with Covid-19 vaccines authorized for emergency use in the United States -- have pledged to make a combined total of 220 million doses available for shipment by the end of March. Meanwhile, Johnson & Johnson, which could secure emergency use authorization for its Covid-19 vaccine from the US Food and Drug Administration later this week, has pledged to make 20 million doses available in the same time frame.

"If the emergency use authorization is received this week, we hope to contribute to ending this pandemic as soon as possible," Dr. Richard Nettles, J&J's vice president of medical affairs, told lawmakers.

Nettles said the company is prepared to immediately ship nearly 4 million doses upon authorization of the vaccine.

Executives from each of the vaccine makers, along with executives from AstraZeneca and Novavax, testified before the House Committee on Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations on Tuesday.

A fourth Covid-19 vaccine could become available in the US in April, when AstraZeneca could secure FDA authorization of its vaccine. Dr. Ruud Dobber, the executive vice president and president of AstraZeneca's biopharmaceuticals business unit, said the company will immediately release 30 million doses upon authorization of the vaccine and up to 50 million doses by the end of April.

Pfizer had expected to deliver 30 to 40 million doses to the US by the end of 2020 but only hit the 40 million mark last week. Moderna had been projected to deliver 20 million doses to the US by the end of 2020 but fell short by a week. When asked on Tuesday why they didn't deliver on time, executives for the companies said access to raw materials and manufacturing a product that had never been made before both contributed to the problem.

"We did initially experience some problems with the initial ramp up of our vaccine," John Young, Pfizer's chief business officer, said. "We particularly saw some rate-limiting steps for the raw materials," Young added.

"We ultimately had never--when we were trying to make those estimates -- manufactured at this scale, and so we had a lot to learn along the way," Dr. Stephen Hoge, Moderna's president, said. "As we look back, could we have maybe started earlier in that process and lining up all of the critical raw materials sooner, would we have been able to get there a little bit faster instead of first week of January, last week of December? It's possible. Certainly hindsight, and that is 20-20 for us."

The five drug companies have contracts with the US government to eventually provide 1.1 billion doses of vaccine, enough to fully vaccinate nearly 600 million people -- close to twice the US population. Officials from the companies assured lawmakers they are on track to meet those commitments.

All five said they didn't foresee any shortage of raw materials that could get in the way.

"At this point, we think we have the supplies and consumables we need," Hoge said.

Moderna is seeking approval from the FDA to increase the number of doses in each of its Covid-19 vaccine vials from 10 to up to 15. When questioned about what the impact on the increase would be, Hoge said it "would accelerate delivery substantially" and decrease the demand for some critical, high-demand raw materials .

"Obviously, any gains -- for instance, filling more doses in a vial -- we will take," Hoge said. "We need to get more doses more quickly into peoples' arms."

Beyond production and distribution, the executives addressed questions about protection, as new coronavirus variants spread.

"Adding a new strain to our vaccine is something we have experience with and are capable of doing very quickly," John Trizzino, Novavax's chief business and commercial officer, said.

Pfizer is looking at at a potential third-dose booster shot.

"We believe that there's some emerging evidence where having higher antibody titers may well be protective even against new variant strains," Young said. "We're also in discussions with the FDA to potentially developing an upgraded vaccine against a new variant of concern, should it arise."

Oregon Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 309841

Reported Deaths: 3569
CountyCasesDeaths
Multnomah50840642
Washington34683272
Marion32181388
Clackamas26315270
Lane23632246
Jackson20753255
Deschutes16401100
Umatilla12552125
Douglas10599185
Linn1030285
Josephine8536163
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Klamath637891
Polk617770
Malheur475867
Benton454027
Coos406469
Columbia320237
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Union266036
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Baker171920
Morrow166621
Curry166317
Hood River161635
Harney77115
Grant7538
Lake6608
Wallowa50111
Gilliam1364
Sherman1283
Wheeler651
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California Coronavirus Cases

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Cases: 4620663

Reported Deaths: 67781
CountyCasesDeaths
Los Angeles144072125799
Riverside3561924786
San Diego3481004002
San Bernardino3456445474
Orange3135295344
Sacramento1494582070
Santa Clara1398391835
Fresno1347291868
Kern1343971515
Alameda1155381318
Ventura972861115
San Joaquin965701608
Contra Costa95152917
Stanislaus800341229
Tulare72268894
San Mateo51984607
San Francisco51582605
Monterey49321562
Solano43887312
Santa Barbara42872497
Sonoma39192376
Merced38977532
Placer36118358
Imperial34105753
Kings29822280
San Luis Obispo28136310
Madera21520258
Butte20994230
Shasta20308276
Santa Cruz20066211
Yolo19040239
Marin17020242
El Dorado15864127
Sutter12955152
Napa1219395
Yuba915461
Nevada839485
Humboldt819084
Tehama810983
San Benito706167
Mendocino676471
Lassen634127
Tuolumne605593
Lake596487
Amador486658
Glenn394630
Siskiyou383241
Calaveras334566
Del Norte330134
Colusa289718
Inyo164939
Mono14625
Plumas12076
Mariposa96712
Trinity70510
Modoc6278
Sierra1980
Unassigned1170
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