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Covid-19 vaccine manufacturing is 'right-sizing': J&J CFO

·Senior Reporter
·2 min read

Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) has been winding down manufacturing of it's single-shot, non-profit COVID-19 vaccine in recent months as demand from the pandemic wanes — and as the U.S. has limited its use.

The vaccine that has supported a number of low and middle income countries' COVID-19 vaccination campaigns will not entirely cease, said CFO Joe Wolk.

"Right now we are, like we would do for any product, right-sizing our manufacturing footprint, our R&D programs, to kind of correlate better with demand that's out there. So we are tapering back, but we're still in the business," Wolk told Yahoo Finance on Tuesday, adding the company would meet its regulatory and supply commitments.

The company is keeping an eye on COVID surges globally to see where demand might crop up again. Wolk noted the company is sitting on excess supply of vaccines.

"I think it's going to depend on where those surges happen next, how health authorities around the world are providing guidance," he said.

J&J suffered several setbacks in demand after rare blood clots were associated with the vaccine, and its government-supported partnership with a contract manufacturer resulted in the loss of about 400 million doses.

But with mRNA peers no longer requiring ultra-cold chain storage and more competition in the market, J&J no longer sees the unprecedented demand it originally catered to. UNICEF data shows that it, AstraZeneca (AZN) and Pfizer (PFE)/BioNTech (BNTX) dominated global vaccinations.

When asked if the company would do anything different — and if it would choose different partners for manufacturing in the future — Wolk noted many things could have been done differently but that the industry at-large responded in exceptional time to the pandemic.

"I don't think there's many questions, or things we should lament. I think the industry, by and large, did a fantastic job in helping curtail the effects of the pandemic," he said.

Follow Anjalee on Twitter @AnjKhem

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