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Photo: AaronP/Bauer-Griffin/GC Images via Getty

Participants who received Johnson & Johnson’s one-shot vaccine in an early study developed coronavirus immunity for at least 71 days, but a production lag could mean a rollout of fewer-than-promised doses, the New York Times reported Wednesday.

Why it matters: If approved, J&J’s vaccine would be the first available to protect from COVID with a single dose, streamlining vaccine administration and distribution.

The big picture: The U.S. government signed a $1 billion contract with J&J last August. The drug company promised that 12 million doses of its vaccine would be ready for deployment by the end of this February and a total of 100 million doses by the end of June.

  • J&J has fallen behind schedule by as much as two months and likely won’t catch up until the end of April, the Times reports.
  • This could lead to a shortage in doses once spring comes around; the federal government has only secured enough to vaccinate 200 million of the roughly 260 million eligible adults in the first half of 2021.

Yes, but: J&J’s vaccine, which results in development of neutralizing antibodies, is long-lasting and doesn’t require freezing like Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech’s shots, per Bloomberg.

  • J&J’s vaccine can be stored at refrigerator temperatures for three months.

What they're saying: "The pandemic shows no signs of slowing, and we, like everyone, are eager for more tools to help stop it," J&J said in a statement to Axios.

  • "We have begun production of our vaccine candidate and are confident in our ability to meet our 2021 supply commitments signed with governments, and we expect to share more detail after some of these steps are achieved."

What to watch: Results from a late-stage trial of 45,000 volunteers will offer more data in the coming weeks, but the company anticipates a high efficacy rate at or above 70%, Chief Scientific Officer Paul Stoffels told Bloomberg.

  • J&J also began a separate late-stage study of its two-dose vaccination process in November and expects data this summer.

Editor's note: This story has been updated with Johnson & Johnson's statement.

Go deeper

Caitlin Owens, author of Vitals
24 hours ago - Health

Seniors losing interest in vaccine trial now that more are eligible for shots

Eva Marie Uzcategui Trinkl/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Seniors are dropping out of an ongoing coronavirus vaccine trial, now that more of them are eligible for vaccination, the Washington Post reports.

The big picture: Convincing people who are eligible for vaccines to instead participate in a trial — where they might receive a placebo — is an uphill battle.

16 hours ago - Health

Amazon offers to help Biden administration with COVID vaccine efforts

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos at the White House with Jill Biden in 2016. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Amazon's worldwide consumer CEO Dave Clark has offered to help the Biden administration with its coronavirus vaccination goals by mobilizing efforts to inoculate its employees, according to a letter sent to President Biden on Wednesday.

Why it matters: As demand for the coronavirus vaccine is outstripping supply, Amazon has about 800,000 employees, many of whom are essential workers. The Biden administration wants to vaccinate 100 million Americans in 100 days.

Updated Jan 18, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

  1. Health: CDC director defends agency's response to pandemic — CDC warns highly transmissible coronavirus variant could become dominant in U.S. in March.
  2. Politics: Empire State Building among hundreds to light up in Biden inauguration coronavirus tribute.
  3. Vaccine: Fauci: 100 million doses in 100 days is "absolutely" doable.
  4. Economy: Unemployment filings explode again.
  5. Tech: Kids' screen time sees a big increase.