White House won’t buy more Pfizer, Moderna COVID-19 vaccine shots after J&J pause

The White House announced it will not buy more shots of Pfizer or Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccines after a federal recommendation to pause the use of Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine.

White House COVID-19 Response Coordinator Jeffrey Zients said Wednesday during a media briefing that there are already enough shots of the two vaccine candidates either in production or distribution. The statements come a day after the Food and Drug Administration and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended states pause the use of J&J’s vaccine to explore extremely rare cases of blood clots.

“There is plenty of Pfizer and Moderna doses on order and being delivered,” Zients said. “We are doing everything we can to accelerate those doses.”

He said that President Joe Biden already ordered 100 million additional doses from Pfizer and Moderna back in February. That brings the total doses on order to 300 million from both companies.

RELATED: What doctors need to know about the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine pause

Pfizer’s CEO Albert Bourla tweeted Tuesday that the drugmaker has ramped up production of its vaccine and can deliver 10% more doses by the end of May than previously agreed to. It still plans to get the full 300 million by the middle of July, two weeks earlier than planned.

Zients added that there will not be any changes to the allocations of doses.

“There is plenty of supply in the system,” he said. “Over the last three weeks we made available more than 25 million doses of Pfizer and Moderna. This week we are shipping out 28 million doses through state and federal channels.”

He said there should be enough that anyone scheduled for a J&J vaccine can still get one of the other approved vaccines.

CDC Director Rochelle Walensky said during the briefing that the recommended pause was made out of an abundance of caution and the blood clot events that have been reported are extremely rare.

She added that the CDC wanted to alert “healthcare providers to be on the lookout for these rare events and make sure we treat these appropriately.”

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