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Johnson & Johnson Shares Leap After FDA, CDC Coronavirus Vaccine Approvals

Johnson & Johnson said it will ship more than 20 million doses of its newly-approved coronavirus vaccine this month, with plans for at least 100 million by the end of June.

Johnson & Johnson  (JNJ)  shares traded higher Monday after the U.S. Food & Drug Administration and a panel of experts advising the Centers for Disease Control approved the drugmaker's recently-developed coronavirus vaccine for emergency use.

The CDC's Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices voted 12-0 to approve the single-shot vaccine for widespread use on Sunday, a move that followed the FDA's Emergency Use Authorization decision on Saturday. The decisions add Johnson & Johnson's COVID vaccine to a list of two previously-approved vaccines -- from Pfizer Inc  (PFE)  and Moderna Inc.  (MRNA)  -- and could put the U.S. on pace to reach its goal of administering 100 million doses by early May.

Johnson & Johnson said it hopes to administer at least 20 million doses this month alone, with a broader goal of more than 100 million by the end of June. 

“We believe the Johnson & Johnson single-shot COVID-19 vaccine is a critical tool for fighting this global pandemic, particularly as it shows protection across countries with different variants," said Johnson & Johnson's chief scientific officer, Paul Stoffels. "A vaccine that protects against COVID-19, especially against the most dire outcomes of hospitalization and death, will help ease the burden on people and the strain on health systems worldwide.” 

“We look forward to our continued efforts around the world as we collectively aim to change the trajectory of this global pandemic," he added.   

Johnson & Johnson shares were marked 1.7% higher in early trading Monday to change hands at $161.00 each, a move that would bump the stock's three-month gain to around 10%.

CDC data over the weekend showed that more than 75 million Americans have received at least one dose of either the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines, including around 50% of those aged 65 and older. 

Johnson & Johnson's vaccine rollout could accelerate that pace, however, as it's a singe-shot regime that requires standard refrigeration temperatures, compared to the ultra-cold conditions required for Pfizer and Moderna's two-shot doses. 

"All three of them are really quite good, and people should take the one that's most available to them," Dr. Anthony Fauci told NBC's Meet the Press Sunday. "If you go to a place and you have J&J, and that's the one that's available now, I would take it."