Administration accelerates distribution of vaccines to states
The U.S. government is accelerating deliveries of COVID-19 vaccines, giving states the number of doses they need to complete vaccination of priority groups and open access to vaccination to everyone in the coming weeks.
Johnson & Johnson, whose single-component vaccine was registered at the end of February, provided the largest increase in supplies. Pfizer also ramped up production of its vaccine, doubling batch sizes and reducing production time.
Moderna said Monday that it has already delivered 100 million doses of the vaccine in the U.S., with 88 million doses in the first quarter of 2021.
The company expects to deliver a second batch of 100 million doses by the end of May and a third by the end of July. Deliveries will be 40 to 50 million doses per month.
According to Moderna, supplies have increased five-fold since the vaccine was registered in December. It delivered 16 million doses in the last quarter of 2020.
Authorities in more than a dozen states, including Vermont, Idaho and New Jersey, say the increased vaccine supply will allow them to speed up vaccinations for seniors and health care workers and, in some cases, to begin vaccinating everyone earlier than expected.
Vermont, for example, will begin offering the vaccine to all adults on April 16, a month earlier than planned. About half of the states plan to begin vaccinating all residents over the age of 16 as early as April, while the administration has set a May 1 deadline to begin widespread distribution of the vaccine.
The number of vaccines distributed by the government was up 20 percent from last week’s 27 million. Supplies of the J&J vaccine have increased from a few hundred a week to 4 million, with plans to increase to 11 million next week.
If Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna vaccine supplies stay the same, the total number of vaccinations should exceed 34 million per week.
In the second half of March, the U.S. is averaging 2.5 million injections a day.