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