Just three COVID-19 vaccines are available in the United States after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on June 1 revoked the authorization for the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
Regulators made the move because of a request from Janssen, the Johnson & Johnson subsidiary that makes the vaccine.
The FDA granted emergency authorization for vaccines from four companies during the COVID-19 pandemic: Moderna, Pfizer, Johnson & Johnson, and Novavax. Johnson & Johnson was authorized in February 2021, giving Americans an alternative to the messenger RNA vaccines from Moderna and Pfizer.
Janssen didn't respond by press time to a request by The Epoch Times for comment.
Executives said in an earnings call in April that they expected no more COVID-19 vaccine sales moving forward.
"We do not anticipate material sales beyond that which were recorded in the first quarter as our contractual commitments are complete," Joseph Wolk, the company's chief financial officer, said on the call.
Emergency AuthorizationsThe emergency authorizations were enabled by then-Health Secretary Alex Azar, a Trump appointee who invoked the Public Readiness and Emergency Preparedness Act because of the COVID-19 pandemic in early 2020. The declaration meant that vaccine manufacturers were largely shielded from liability and that regulators could authorize vaccines if, based on the scientific evidence, it was "reasonable to believe" that the vaccine "may be effective" in preventing or treating COVID-19.
While the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines were later approved, or granted licensure, by the FDA, the Johnson & Johnson and Novavax vaccines have remained available under emergency authorization.
As of May 10, of approximately 665 million COVID-19 vaccine doses administered in the United States, just 19 million were from Johnson & Johnson, according to data reported by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Another 12 million Johnson & Johnson vaccines had been delivered to jurisdictions and not administered, forcing health care workers to throw them out.
The U.S. government agreed in 2020 to purchase 100 million doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine for more than $1 billion through the Trump administration's Operation Warp Speed program. Because of manufacturing delays and, later, concerns about TTS, fewer doses were delivered.
Becerra said that although the COVID-19 public health emergency had ended, he "determined there is a credible risk that COVID–19 may in the future constitute such an emergency" and thus is "amending this declaration to prepare for and mitigate that risk."