Limited COVID-19 vaccine supplies and appointment scheduling frustrations are just two of the hurdles facing the United States as a third vaccine is rolled out.
"If people want to opt for one vaccine over another, you know, they may have to wait," said Marcella Nunez-Smith, COVID-19 health equity task force chair. "Time is of the essence, getting vaccinated saves lives."
It's a race against the virus variants believed to be more contagious. Johnson and Johnson said the supply will be limited for the next couple of weeks following the initial distribution of nearly four million doses.
Even as more shots become available, the three companies with vaccines on the U.S. market are working on a booster to help better protect against the virus variants.
"All of the companies are already working on the next generation for some of the variants," said Alex Gorsky, CEO and Chairman of Johnson and Johnson. "While we’re encouraged and we’re confident in the current vaccine that we have, you’ve always got to be preparing for the future, and frankly for the unknown."
The latest seven-day average numbers show a slight increase in new COVID-19 cases and deaths compared to the week before.
“Please hear me clearly. At this level of cases with variant spreading, we stand to completely lose the hard-earned ground we have gained," said Dr. Rochelle Walensky, CDC Director. "Stay strong in your conviction. Continue wearing your well-fitting mask and taking the other public health prevention actions that we know work.”
White House officials say the Johnson and Johnson vaccine will be allocated the same way as the other two on the U.S. market. The company expects to deliver around 16 million additional doses by the end of March.