Merck to help make Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccine: White House official
(Reuters) – Merck & Co will help make rival Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccine in order to boost the slower-than-promised production of the one-dose shot, U.S. President Joe Biden said on Tuesday.
The partnership, as well as other steps the government is taking to assist J&J, will allow the company to accelerate delivery of 100 million vaccine doses by around a month, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).
Biden said his administration has now secured enough vaccine for every adult in the United States to be vaccinated by the end of May.
“One of the things that I learned when I came into office was that Johnson & Johnson was behind in manufacturing and production,” Biden said. “It simply wasn’t coming fast enough. So my team has been hard at work to accelerate that effort.”
He said the U.S. government had invoked the Defense Production Act to help equip two Merck plants to make the J&J vaccine.
Biden also said plants already making J&J’s vaccine would step up their output, producing 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
These actions will ultimately double J&J’s U.S. ability to produce vaccine substance and increase its fill-finish capacity, where the product is put into vials and readied for shipping, HHS said.