Dr. Johnson & Johnson board member Mark McClellan told CNBC that "if the clinical trial works," the company could significantly increase the availability of Covid vaccines in the coming weeks.
"I know J&J has a very large supply with its production both here in the US and elsewhere in the world, with the goal of maybe having enough vaccines for 100 million Americans by spring or April. So," said the former FDA commissioner in a Thursday evening interview on "The News with Shepard Smith".
During a speech at the White House Thursday, government lead infectious disease doctor Anthony Fauci said Johnson & Johnson would have enough data on its vaccine to start analysis within a week or two. McClellan told host Shepard Smith that the most important thing about the company's vaccine is the large-scale clinical trial that is ongoing.
"Based on these results, the independent scientists overseeing this study should take a closer look in the near future and we'll see how quickly the vaccine could advance," McClellan said.
In the US, an average of 883,000 injections of the Covid vaccine have been given per day for the past six days, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Even so, less than 50% of the 37,960,000 cans distributed have found their way into people's arms.
At least 12 states have reported vaccine shortages. Officials from San Francisco and New York warned they could be completely out of dose this week. At least 15 vaccination sites in New York City are temporarily closed. New York Mayor Bill DeBlasio told NBC's Gabe Gutierrez that at least 23,000 vaccine appointments must be postponed.
McClellan noted that "the supply will go up, but probably not enough to keep up with the large number of Americans who are really looking to get vaccinated now". However, he told Smith that he believes the Biden administration can help speed up the vaccine adoption rate.
"It's going to be a challenge, but I think more than 100 million Americans can be vaccinated in the next few months," said McClellan, a health policy expert at Duke University.
President Joe Biden promised a "full war effort" to fight the coronavirus pandemic and accelerate vaccine production using the Defense Production Act during a briefing Thursday.
"We have already identified suppliers and are working with them to move the plan forward," said Biden.
He added that the DPA would help fix supply chain issues, including a shortage of syringes.