Merck to help produce Johnson & Johnson vaccine

Source: Politico | March 2, 2021 | Sarah Owermohle and Adam Cancryn

The Biden administration helped broker the deal after reports earlier this year that J&J was struggling with production delays.

President Joe Biden will announce Tuesday that Merck will manufacture doses of Johnson & Johnson’s coronavirus vaccine in a bid to produce at least 100 million shots by this summer, according to two senior administration officials.

The Biden administration helped broker the deal after reports earlier this year that J&J was struggling with production delays and would not meet its original promise to provide 12 million shots by the end of February. Just four million were on hand when the Food and Drug Administration authorized the vaccine on Saturday.

White House officials have long considered the J&J shot critical to the country’s effort to curb the virus because it is given as a single dose and is easier to store than other available vaccines. J&J has assured government officials that it can deliver 20 million doses through March and 100 million by this summer.

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Merck will contribute two facilities to aiding J&J’s production: One will “fill-finish” vaccines, or fill vials and package the shots for distribution, while another will help with producing the vaccine itself.

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