U.S. is ready to roll out J&J vaccine 'without delay,' pending FDA clearance, Biden health officials say

The United States stands ready to deliver up to 4 million doses of Johnson & Johnson's Covid-19 vaccine as soon as next week if the Food and Drug Administration authorizes the shot for emergency use, the Biden administration's Covid-19 response team said Wednesday.

"The governors are carefully planning their efforts and are getting ready for the possible new vaccine," Jeff Zients, President Joe Biden's Covid czar, said at a news briefing. "If authorized, we're ready to roll out this vaccine without delay."

"If the EUA is granted, we will waste no time getting this life-saving vaccine into the arms of Americans," he said, referring to the emergency use authorization that would allow the U.S. to start distributing the shots.

The administration plans on allocating between 3 million to 4 millions doses of J&J's one-shot Covid vaccine next week if the FDA grants the EUA, which could come as soon as this weekend. A senior administration official told CNBC on Tuesday that states will be given 2 million doses if authorized.

J&J aims to deliver 20 million doses by the end of March, Zients said, and the administration is working with the company "to accelerate the pace and time frame by which they deliver the full 100 million doses" by the end of June.

Earlier on Wednesday, FDA staff endorsed J&J's vaccine for emergency use. The staff report is meant to brief the FDA's Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee, which will meet Friday to review J&J's request for emergency use authorization.

If authorized, the shot would become the third vaccine given authorization in the U.S. behind Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna.

This is a developing story. Please check back later for updates.

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