Merck To Manufacture Johnson & Johnson Single Shot Vaccine Amid Efficacy Questions

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Merck To Manufacture Johnson & Johnson Single Shot Vaccine Amid Efficacy Questions

Update (0910ET): In a promising development for anyone fearful of vaccine supply issues, The Wall Street Journal reports that Merck will help produce Johnson & Johnson’s single-shot Covid-19 vaccine. According to administration officials, President Biden will announce this partnership later today.

While headlines across the mainstream media highlight anecdotal regions that are running low on vaccines, the broader view currently appears to be that there is a 'demand' issue - not enough arms to jab - rather than a supply issue.

Infographic: The Covid-19 Vaccination Race | Statista

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The entry of Johnson & Johnson's Covid-19 vaccine into the field of vaccines is going to help protect millions more Americans. But a trust issue remains, outside the normal realm of vaccine-trust issues: people will need to be convinced that the efficacy of the single shot vaccine is worth taking. 

The shot, which the FDA approved over the weekend, is undoubtedly going to be more convenient than the others - it is only one shot and can be stored in a conventional refrigerator. But some are still cautious about the "perception that J&J’s shot is an inferior option," Bloomberg reported this week. J&J's shot was found to be 72% effective in the U.S. and 66% effective overseas. Vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna posted efficacy of 95% and 94%, for comparison. 

But it is tough to directly compare the results. J&J conducted the largest trial to date, including sites in places like South Africa and Brazil, where the vaccine went up against un-tested virus variations. 

J&J’s Chief Executive Officer Alex Gorsky said Monday: “I can certainly understand [people’s] confusion...

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