February 23, 2021
Drug executives say big jump in vaccine supply
is coming soon
By Matthew Perrone and Lauran Neergaard
The Associated Press
WASHINGTON (AP) ó COVID-19 vaccine makers told congress on
Tuesday to expect a big jump in the delivery of doses over the
coming month, and the companies insist they will be able to
provide enough for most Americans to get inoculated by summer.
By the end of March, Pfizer and Moderna expect to have
provided the U.S. government with a total of 220 million vaccine
doses, up sharply from the roughly 75 million shipped so far.
"We do believe weíre on track," Moderna president Stephen
Hoge said, outlining ways the company has ramped up production.
"We think weíre at a very good spot."
Thatís not counting a third vaccine, from Johnson & Johnson
(J&J), thatís expected to get a green light from regulators
soon. The Biden administration said it expects about 2 million
doses of that vaccine to be shipped in the first week, but the
company told lawmakers it should provide enough of the
single-dose option for 20 million people by the end of March.
Looking ahead to summer, Pfizer and Moderna expect to
complete delivery of 300 million doses each, and J&J aims to
provide an additional 100 million doses. That would be more than
enough to vaccinate every American adult, the goal set by the
Two other manufacturers, Novavax and AstraZeneca, have
vaccines in the pipeline and anticipate eventually adding to
Asked pointedly if they face shortages of raw materials,
equipment, or funding that would throw off those schedules, all
of the manufacturers expressed confidence that they had enough
supplies and had already addressed some of the early bottlenecks
"At this point I can confirm we are not seeing any shortages
of raw materials," said Pfizerís John Young.
The hearing by a house subcommittee came as U.S. vaccinations
continue to accelerate after a sluggish start and recent
disruptions caused by winter weather. More than 44 million
Americans have received at least one dose of either the Pfizer
or Moderna vaccine, and about 1.4 million per day got a first or
second dose over the past seven days, according to the CDC.
But state health officials say demand for inoculations still
vastly outstrips the limited weekly shipments provided by the
"The most pressing challenge now is the lack of supply of
vaccine doses," representative Diana DeGette, a Colorado
Democrat, said as she opened the hearing. "Some of the companies
here today are still short of the number of doses they promised
to initially deliver when they last testified before this
subcommittee in July."
Both Pfizer and Moderna failed to meet delivery quotas for
the initial doses of their vaccines late last year. Thatís
prompted congress to scrutinize the companiesí plans for vaccine
development and delivery, which they noted benefitted from $16
billion in federal funding.
"A significant amount of American tax dollars were invested
to be able to produce the vaccine immediately upon approval,"
said representative David McKinley, a West Virginia Republican,
who questioned executives on why they were still unable to meet
demand for the vaccines.
Nearly 14% of Americans have received at least an initial
dose of the two-shot-regimen vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna.
The Trump administrationís Operation Warp Speed focused most
of its efforts on racing vaccines through research, development,
and manufacturing. But little planning or funding went to
coordinating vaccination campaigns at the state and local
levels. That effort is now picking up speed with plans for mass
vaccination sites and an increasing supply distributed to chain
Representative Frank Pallone, a New Jersey Democrat,
questioned J&J vice president Richard Nettles on why the company
has fallen behind on the schedule outlined in its federal
contract, which included delivering 12 million doses by late
Nettles said only that the company has faced "significant
challenges" due to its "highly complex" manufacturing process.
But he noted the company is partnering with drugmaker Sanofi to
further expand production.
"This has been an unprecedented effort to scale up
manufacturing for a vaccine against a disease that didnít even
exist more than a year ago," Nettles told lawmakers.
Even with no manufacturing or supply interruptions, other
issues could delay or block the U.S. from vaccinating 70% to 80%
of its population ó the critical threshold needed to neutralize
About 1 in 3 Americans say they definitely or probably will
not get the vaccine, according to a recent poll from The
Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research.
Concerns about safety were the reason most frequently cited for
vaccine hesitancy, despite few serious side effects reported
with the currently available vaccines.
Associated Press Writer Zeke Miller contributed to this
The Associated Press Health and Science Department receives
support from the Howard Hughes Medical Instituteís Department of
Science Education. The AP is solely responsible for all content.