A Johnson & Johnson logo can be seen in front of a medical syringe and vial of coronavirus vaccine in this photo illustration.

Pavlo Gonchar | SOPA pictures | LightRakete | Getty Images

Johnson & Johnson said Wednesday that it expects to sell $ 2.5 billion of its Covid-19 vaccine this year, even as concerns about the effectiveness of the shot against the Delta variant mount.

When it released its financial results for the second quarter, the company also reported earnings and revenues that exceeded Wall Street’s expectations.

According to Refinitiv’s average estimates, J&J has performed as follows compared to Wall Street expectations:

  • Adjusted earnings per share: $ 2.48 per share versus an expected $ 2.27.
  • Revenue: $ 23.31 billion versus an expected $ 22.21 billion.

The company’s share price rose nearly 1% in pre-market trading, according to the report.

J & J’s pharmaceuticals business, which developed the Covid single-shot vaccine, had sales of $ 12.59 billion, up 17.2% year over year.

Jennifer Taubert, J & J’s Pharmaceuticals Chairwoman, said most of the company’s core businesses have returned to “pre-Covid levels” and the drug maker is seeing strength again in the US and Europe. The unit expects to continue seeing strong sales regardless of Covid variants or other “slip-ups” related to the pandemic, she said.

The company’s consumer division, which makes products like Neutrogena Face Wash and Listerine, had sales of $ 3.7 billion, up 13.3% from last year. The medical device business was $ 6.9 billion, an increase of 62.7%. That unit was hit hard last year when the pandemic forced hospitals to postpone elective surgeries and Americans stayed at home.

“We have all realized in the past 18 months the importance of good health and the need to choose an elective forever,” J & J’s chief financial officer Joseph Wolk told CNBC after the company released its earnings report on Wednesday .

Worldwide sales for the Covid vaccine were $ 164 million for the quarter.

The company has raised its profit and sales forecast for the year. J&J now expects full year earnings of $ 9.50 to $ 9.60 per share, compared to its previous guidance of $ 9.30 to $ 9.45 per share. The company expects revenue between $ 92.5 billion and $ 93.3 billion, compared to its previous forecast of $ 89.3 billion to $ 90.3 billion.

During a conference call, J&J executives said that given the uncertainty surrounding the need for booster vaccinations and the prevalence of highly communicable variants, it is too early to provide specific information on the outlook for the Covid vaccine for 2022 and beyond.

They said the company is expecting data from its study that will test two doses of its vaccine in the third or early fourth quarter of this year.

The financial results come a day after a new study found the J&J vaccine against the Delta and Lambda variants is much less effective than against the original virus. Researchers are now suggesting that a booster dose might be needed for J&J recipients.

The study, which has not yet been peer-reviewed, contradicts a report from the company that found the vaccine to be effective against Delta even eight months after vaccination, particularly against serious illness and hospitalization.

Delta, the dominant variant in the US, now accounts for an estimated 83% of infections in the country, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Wolk told CNBC on Wednesday that people should be “guarded” over the new study, adding that the results were based on blood tests in a laboratory and may not reflect the performance of the shot in a real-world setting.

“I think it’s probably best for anyone to reach out to health officials who have not yet recommended a booster, even for some shorter-duration vaccines,” he said.