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Johnson & Johnson expects its Covid vaccine sales to surge — but still lag its rivals

By Chris Isidore, CNN Business

Johnson & Johnson, the world’s largest health care products company, reported that sales of its Covid vaccine have accelerated, but they’ll still lag far behind other vaccines for the foreseeable future.

Its 2021 sales of its single-dose vaccine came to $2.4 billion, the company reported Tuesday, just short of its earlier forecast of $2.5 billion. About two-thirds of those sales took place in the final quarter of the year, and three-quarters of them were outside the United States.

J&J said it expects 2022 sales of the vaccine to be between $3 billion and $3.5 billion, an increase of between 26% to 47%. The company’s stock rose nearly 3% Tuesday.

Still, J&J’s expected growth remains far behind the forecasts of Pfizer, which is projecting $29 billion in sales this year, and of Moderna, which expects sales of $18.5 billion, for their own Covid vaccines. Neither company has yet reported full-year 2021 sales.

J&J is likely to trail AstraZeneca, which had Covid vaccine sales of just $2.2 billion in the first nine months of 2021, and whose vaccine is not approved for use in the United States.

J&J’s vaccine is designed to have only a single dose for initial vaccination, rather than the two-dose regime of some of its rivals. But it has been dogged by problems, including a warning that it can be associated with dangerous, though rare, blood clots in some recipients.

It also is generally considered less effective in preventing Covid than some of the other vaccines. One study estimated it was 74% effective against the disease, compared to 86% for Pfizer and 93% for Moderna. The Centers for Disease Control said in December that the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines were preferable to the one from J&J.

There were also quality control problems at a plant operated by another company that was making the vaccine for J&J, which caused a pause in production in the spring when vaccines were still in limited supply.

Its Covid vaccine made up less than 3% of J&J’s global revenue of $93.8 billion in 2021. The company makes everything from Band-Aids to Tylenol, medical devices to birth control pills, though it plans to spin off its over-the-counter business.

Despite the limited contribution from its Covid vaccine, J&J reported net income for the year jumped 42% to $20.9 billion. Its vaccine’s contributions to sales and profits will stay in the low single-digit range in 2022, the company said.

By comparison, the vaccines made up virtually all of Moderna’s sales for last year, as the company had little in the way of product before the vaccine was approved for use. And Pfizer has projected that its Covid vaccine would generate revenue of $36 billion when it reports full-year 2021 results, representing about 44% of its sales of between $81 billion to $82 billion.

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Article Topic Follows: Coronavirus Coverage

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