Biden Moves Up Vaccine Timeline, Announces Major Corporate Partners in ‘Wartime Effort’

Mandatory Credit: Photo by Shutterstock (11757831d)President Joe Biden delivers brief remarks to the media as he departs the White House for a weekend trip to Camp David, in Washington, DC.
Shutterstock / Shutterstock

President Biden announced the “type of collaboration between companies we saw in World War Two,” with two competitors working together. Merck will help Johnson & Johnson produce its COVID vaccine, bringing the country “on track to have enough vaccine supply for every adult in America by the end of May.”

See: FDA Unanimously Recommends Johnson & Johnson Emergency Use Authorization
Find: Pfizer and Moderna Pledge More US Vaccines

In a briefing yesterday, Biden said that his administration had also invoked the Defense Production Act to equip two Merck facilities to the standards necessary to safely manufacture the J&J vaccine. “I’ve always said, this was a wartime effort, and every action has been on the table, including putting together breakthrough approaches,” Biden said.

“And with the urging and assistance of my administration, Johnson & Johnson is also taking additional new actions to safely accelerate vaccine production. Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine manufacturing facilities will now begin to operate 24/7,” he said.

Johnson & Johnson’s single-dose COVID-19 vaccine was granted emergency use authorization by the Food and Drug Administration on Saturday. Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine, the Janssen Biotech Inc. COVID-19 Vaccine, is the third to be granted an EUA and the first one requiring only one dose, facilitating and accelerating distribution amid a rollout that has been less than seamless.

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In addition, in comparison with Moderna and Pfizer’s vaccines, it is relatively easy to store, as it can be stored for three months at normal refrigerator temperatures of 36 degrees Fahrenheit to 46 degrees Fahrenheit (2 degrees Celsius to 8 degrees Celsius) and has a two-year shelf life when frozen at minus-13 degrees Fahrenheit to 5 degrees Fahrenheit (minus-25 degrees Celsius to minus-15 degrees Celsius), according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention documents.

Biden added that he also asked the Department of Defense to provide daily logistical support to strengthen Johnson & Johnson’s efforts. “And I want to thank Johnson & Johnson and Merck for stepping up and being good corporate citizens during this national crisis,” Biden said.

“Here’s what all this means: We’re now on track to have enough vaccine supply for every adult in America by the end of May,” he added.

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See: Who Is Getting Vaccines? Survey Notes Income Disparity in Vaccine Recipients
Find: Biden’s New PPP Rules – Only Small or Minority-Owned Companies Can Apply for 2 Weeks

The president added that the administration has also brought back retired doctors and nurses to help and has deployed more than 1,500 federal medical personnel.

“We’re also increasing the places where people can get vaccinated. We’ve sent millions of vaccines to over 7,000 pharmacies to make it easier for folks to get their COVID-19 vaccine shot like they would their flu shot,” he said.

See: How to Book Vaccines at Major Pharmacies
Find: 25 Experts’ Predictions on When We Will Bounce Back from COVID-19

Biden also noted that resources are needed to expand genomic sequencing in order to stay ahead of emerging variants, and to provide for the protective gear, transportation and other costs necessary for schools and businesses to reopen safely. “We need to fund it,” Biden said. “The bottom line is: We need the American Rescue Plan now. Now.”

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“There is light at the end of the tunnel, but we cannot let our guard down now or assure that victory is inevitable. We can’t assume that. We must remain vigilant, act fast and aggressively and look out for one another. That’s how we’re going to get ahead of this virus, get our economy going again and get back to our loved ones,” Biden added.

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About the Author

Yaël Bizouati-Kennedy is a full-time financial journalist and has written for several publications, including Dow Jones, The Financial Times Group, Bloomberg and Business Insider. She also worked as a vice president/senior content writer for major NYC-based financial companies, including New York Life and MSCI. Yaël is now freelancing and most recently, she co-authored  the book “Blockchain for Medical Research: Accelerating Trust in Healthcare,” with Dr. Sean Manion. (CRC Press, April 2020) She holds two master’s degrees, including one in Journalism from New York University and one in Russian Studies from Université Toulouse-Jean Jaurès, France.
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