Operation Warp Speed Was Instrumental In Johnson & Johnson’s Coronavirus Vaccine

(Timothy D. Easley-Pool/Getty Images)

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Andrew Trunsky Political Reporter
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Johnson & Johnson’s one-dose coronavirus vaccine was granted emergency use authorization by the FDA Saturday, and unlike some of the vaccines approved in December, relied heavily on Operation Warp Speed.

The federal government gave approximately $1 billion to the vaccine’s clinical trials and additional research, and spent another $1 billion on its manufacturing and a contract for 100 million doses by the end of June. The Trump administration launched Operation Warp Speed in March 2020 as the pandemic took hold in the U.S., with its goal being to develop and distribute a safe and effective coronavirus vaccine as quickly as possible.

Johnson & Johnson began developing its vaccine in March, and conducted its clinical trials throughout 2020. It announced in January that its vaccine was 72% effective against the virus, 85% effective against severe cases and 100% effective in preventing hospitalizations and deaths.

Unlike Pfizer and Moderna’s two-dose vaccines, Johnson & Johnson’s can be fully administered in just one shot, possibly mitigating supply shortages reported across the country, Bloomberg reported. The vaccine can also be stored at normal refrigerated temperatures instead of ultra-cold freezers, facilitating its nationwide distribution. (RELATED: Biden Admin Plans To Distribute 4 Million Johnson & Johnson Vaccine Doses In Under Two Days)

The first boxes of the Johnson & Johnson Covid-19 vaccine are loaded into a box for shipment from the McKesson facility in Shepherdsville, Kentucky on March 1, 2021. (TIMOTHY D. EASLEY/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

Alex Gorsky, Johnson & Johnson’s CEO, said Monday that 4 million doses were being shipped, with vaccinations beginning as soon as Tuesday. He also reaffirmed the drug maker’s commitment to distributing 100 million doses before July, and added that it was on track to produce 1 billion doses before 2022.

While Operation Warp Speed played an outsized role in the development of Moderna’s coronavirus vaccine – it gave about $4 billion toward its development, testing and production – it played a smaller role regarding Pfizer’s vaccine. Unlike Johnson & Johnson and Moderna, Pfizer took no money for its vaccine’s research and development, though it entered into two government contracts to supply hundreds of millions of doses before July.

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