The US President is invoking wartime law to compel Merck & Co to help produce the newly approved Johnson & Johnson COVID vaccine.
The United States will have enough doses of the coronavirus vaccine for every adult in the country by the end of May, President Joe Biden said on Tuesday, as production of a third vaccine is expected to increase.
At a White House press conference, Biden said he invoked a wartime production law to force pharmaceutical company Merck & Co to help produce a newly approved vaccine manufactured by Johnson & Johnson.
The United States already had contracts with Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna to provide 300 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine – enough to vaccinate all adults by the end of July – but the addition of a third viable vaccine and additional manufacturing capacity has moved this timeline forward.
“We are now on track to have enough vaccines for every adult in America by the end of May,” Biden told reporters.
The United States has been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic, but coronavirus-related infections and deaths have declined in recent weeks as part of a push to inoculate more Americans and put regulations in place. more stringent public health.
More than 28.7 million cases of COVID-19 and more than 516,200 coronavirus-related deaths have been reported so far in the country, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.
Despite the drop in numbers, Biden said the fight against the virus was far from over.
“Today we are announcing a major breakthrough. Two of the world’s largest healthcare and pharmaceutical companies, which are usually competitors, are working together on the vaccine, ”he said.
Biden said he used the Defense Production Act, a 1950 law passed by Congress during the Korean War, to require Merck & Co to equip two facilities to produce the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
Johnson & Johnson is committed to making the new vaccine 24/7, he also said, adding that the US Department of Defense will provide logistical support.
Also on Tuesday, Biden said he was ordering U.S. states to prioritize immunization of educators and educators to help reopen schools and daycares.
Additionally, starting next week, pharmacies receiving federal vaccine supplies would also prioritize educator immunization.
“My challenge for all states, territories and the District of Columbia is this: We want every educator, school staff, early childhood educator to receive at least one vaccine by the end of March,” Biden said.
Biden has pledged to administer 100 million COVID-19 bites during his first 100 days in office.
As of Tuesday morning, more than 102 million doses had been distributed across the country since the start of the U.S. vaccination program last year, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, while more than 78.6 million doses had been administered.
It is also urging Democrats in the U.S. Congress must pass its $ 1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief bill, which aims to stimulate the economy amid a pandemic downturn.