President Biden promised that the federal government will have enough vaccine supply to vaccinate approximately 300 million Americans by the end of May.
President Biden today promised that the federal government will have enough doses of the COVID-19 vaccine to vaccinate approximately 300 million Americans by the end of May, which is 2 months earlier than anticipated.1,2
The news follows an agreement between the Biden administration and Merck that will allow the company to assist in manufacturing Johnson & Johnson’s recently-authorized 1-dose vaccine.3,4 Earlier today, Press Secretary Jen Psaki said that the US government will invoke the Defense Production Act to equip 2 Merck facilities to the standards necessary to safely manufacture the vaccine.4 According to a Merck press release, the company will use its US facilities to produce drug substance, formulate, and fill vials of the vaccine for distribution.3
The FDA approved Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine for emergency use on February 27, making it the third safe and highly effective COVID-19 vaccine to be approved for use in the United States.
Biden also announced during his remarks that he will direct all states to prioritize vaccinating teachers, challenging states to administer at least 1 dose of the vaccine to all educators by the end of March. Biden said that the government will provide the doses directly through its pharmacy program. Teachers will be able to sign up directly through participating retail pharmacies in their local area, according to the administration.1,2
As part of the Federal Retail Pharmacy Program, the administration has sent millions of vaccine to more pharmacies across the country. This week, more than 800,000 doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine will also be distributed to pharmacies.1,2
Starting next week, the Biden administration also announced that the federal government was increasing the supply of Moderna and Pfizer vaccines to states to 15.2 million doses per week, up from 14.5 million previously. Furthermore, states are also receiving 2.8 million of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine this week.3
1. White House Press Briefing. President Biden Delivers Remarks on the Ongoing COVID-19 Pandemic. March 2, 2021.
2. Miller Z, Johnson LA, Lemire J. Biden vows enough vaccine for all US adults by end of May. Published March 2, 2021. Accessed March 2, 2021. https://apnews.com/article/merck-help-make-johnson-johnson-vaccine-9ca6f1f4c502b095531926a53abe7262
3. The White House. Press Briefing by Press Secretary Jen Psaki, March 2, 2021. https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefing-room/press-briefings/2021/03/02/press-briefing-by-press-secretary-jen-psaki-march-2-2021/.
4. Merck to Help Produce Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 Vaccine; BARDA to Provide Merck With Funding to Expand Merck’s Manufacturing Capacity for COVID-19 Vaccines and Medicines. News release. Merck; March 2, 2021. Accessed March 2, 2021. https://www.merck.com/news/merck-to-help-produce-johnson-barda-to-provide-merck-with-funding-to-expand-mercks-manufacturing-capacity-for-covid-19-vaccines-and-medicines/.