President Biden announced Tuesday that pharmaceutical giant Merck will help make Johnson & Johnson’s single-shot coronavirus vaccine — an unusual pact between fierce rivals that is among several steps intended to boost supply as Biden pushes toward having enough shots for every adult by the end of May.
Biden’s vow to produce enough vaccine for all U.S. adults by the end of May is two months faster than his previous goal of the end of July. But the Merck deal on its own is not expected to ramp up fast enough to impact vaccine supplies significantly in the next three months.
The administration will pay $268.8 million to Merck to upgrade multiple plants to the necessary safety standards to produce Johnson & Johnson vaccine, from fermentation in vats to final finish and filling in vials. The Biden administration and the companies did not disclose the number of doses Merck would produce for Johnson & Johnson.
This story was originally published by the Washington Post on March 2, 2021:
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