Biden vows enough vaccine for all USA adults by end of May

Ross Houston
March 3, 2021

"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.

The two companies had held some preliminary talks about working together before the Biden team got into the White House, but those proposals had been "at a very small level of ambition" and were "dead by the time we got in" to office, said the official, who knew the CEOs of both companies.

Earlier this week, Senate President Karen Spilka called for educators to be first in line to get vaccinated as K-12 schools fully reopen, and almost two dozen other state legislators have made similar requests, urging the state to prioritize teachers in the recent shipment of Johnson & Johnson's single-dose vaccine.

"The basic conclusion of that call was, we've got to think much bigger and much bolder", recalled a senior administration official who was on the line.

The officials said getting Merck involved will vastly increase production of the Johnson and Johnson vaccine in the "medium term". This despite the objections of the White House and the nation's top infectious disease expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci, who have warned against any relaxation of virus protocols until more Americans are vaccinated.

Those pharmacies will be key in getting the vaccines into the arms of teachers - particularly in the roughly 20 states where they have not been prioritized for shots.

"Let's treat in-person learning as the essential service that it is", Biden said.

The J&J vaccine is the third to receive U.S. regulatory approval for emergency use. President Biden announced J&J would be running its USA facilities "24/7" to speed vaccine out the door.

"But there's a difference between conversations and it moving forward and the use of the Defense Production Act, which is something this president, and not the prior president, committed to invoking", Psaki continued.

It was not immediately clear when the effect of Merck's assistance would be reflected in supply. One would make the vaccine and the other would handle inserting the vaccine into vials and ensuring strict quality controls.

Merck halted its own plans to develop a coronavirus vaccine earlier this year, finding that their candidates were generating an inferior immune system response compared with other vaccines.

This is the third COVID-19 vaccine approved for emergency use in the United States after those from Moderna and Pfizer/BioNTech.

The Defense Production Act, which gives the government the power to compel companies to support war effort, provided some "implicit" incentive for the companies to cooperate, administration officials said. It said it would instead focus its work on developing treatments for COVID-19. It requires only one dose to be effective and can be stored for three months at normal refrigerator temperatures of 2 to 8 degrees Celsius.

"Great news, but stay vigilant", Biden said.

Other reports by iNewsToday