Apr 13, 2021 - Health

White House says J&J pause will not have "significant impact" on vaccination plan

Biden speaks into a microphone at a podium

Biden at the White Houe on April 6. Photo: Oliver Contreras/Sipa/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The White House said Tuesday that the FDA's recommendation that the U.S. pause use of Johnson & Johnson's COVID-19 vaccine "will not have a significant impact" on the administration's vaccination plans.

Why it matters: The Biden administration says it has secured enough Moderna and Pfizer doses for 300 million Americans. The U.S. will be able to continue administering 3 million vaccine doses a day even without the Johnson & Johnson shot, according to the White House.

Driving the news: The FDA, out of "an abundance of caution," recommended on Tuesday an immediate pause of the use of Johnson & Johnson's COVID-19 vaccine, citing six cases of a rare blood clot disorder. Health officials will review safety data and determine next steps as early as Wednesday.

Behind the scenes, via Axios' Jonathan Swan: Top White House officials are feeling good about vaccine supply, but are still concerned that the FDA's decision could increase vaccine hesitancy — especially for 20- to 30-year-old Americans, since young people prefer the convenience of one shot.

What they're saying: "This announcement will not have a significant impact on our vaccination plan: Johnson & Johnson vaccine makes up less than 5 percent of the recorded shots in arms in the United States to date," Jeff Zients, Biden's COVID-19 response coordinator, said in a statement.

  • "Based on actions taken by the President earlier this year, the United States has secured enough Pfizer and Moderna doses for 300 million Americans."
  • "Over the last few weeks, we have made available more than 25 million doses of Pfizer and Moderna each week, and in fact this week we will make available 28 million doses of these vaccines. This is more than enough supply to continue the current pace of vaccinations of 3 million shots per day," he said.

The bottom line: The administration still expects the U.S. to administer 200 million shots by Biden's 100th day in office.

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