WASHINGTON — On the same day the U.S. recommended a “pause” in the use of the single-dose Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine to investigate reports of rare but potentially dangerous blood clots, Pfizer's CEO announced his company is increasing production of its own vaccine and will deliver its promised amount ahead of schedule.
Albert Bourla tweeted that Pfizer "can deliver 10% more doses to the US by the end of May than previously agreed (total of 220M) & supply the full 300M agreed on for the end of July two weeks early."
President Joe Biden announced on Feb. 11 that the U.S. had secured contractual commitments from Moderna and Pfizer to deliver the 600 million doses of vaccine by the end of July. At the time, that was already more than a month earlier than initially anticipated.
The two-dose vaccines by Pfizer and Moderna and the one-dose vaccine from J&J are the only ones authorized for emergency use by the Food and Drug Administration.
But the FDA and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention called for the pause on the J&J vaccine Tuesday, saying that they were looking into unusual clots in six women between the ages of 18 and 48. One person died.
The acting FDA commissioner expected the pause to last only a matter of days. But the decision triggered swift action in states, Europe and elsewhere as the drugmaker, regulators and providers moved to halt the use of the J&J vaccine, at least for now.
The CDC said Tuesday that 192 million doses of vaccine have been administered, with 75 million people -- 22.7% of the total U.S. population -- now fully vaccinated. More than 1/3 of the U.S. has received at least one dose and 79% of seniors have gotten at least one shot.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.