New Jersey to receive 70000 doses of Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine

Victor Villegas 78 right receives a COVID-19 vaccine shot from a health care worker at a vaccination site in the Mission district of San Francisco Monday Feb. 8 2021

Victor Villegas 78 right receives a COVID-19 vaccine shot from a health care worker at a vaccination site in the Mission district of San Francisco Monday Feb. 8 2021

White House press secretary Jen Psaki was pressed Tuesday about the Biden administration's taking credit for a partnership between Johnson & Johnson and Merck to scale up production of the Johnson & Johnson coronavirus vaccine.

"We're increasing the places where people can get vaccinated".

US President Joe Biden announced on Tuesday that ramped-up production of the new vaccine will ensure a sufficient supply of doses for every adult American by the end of May - two months earlier than expected.

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. The aim is to help reopen schools to better educate students who have been at risk of falling behind during the pandemic and reduce the burden on parents who have had to choose between childcare and a job.

Under its contract, J&J was supposed to deliver 12 million doses by the end of February, but had less than 4 million ready to ship when the vaccine was authorised on Saturday.

Before the approval of the J&J shot, Biden had suggested that it would take until the end of July to have enough vaccine for every adult in the U.S.

The J&J vaccine is the third to receive United States regulatory approval for emergency use.

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"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.

The White House said Merck would devote two plants to the production process.

The resulting agreement came with an invocation of the DPA that helped accelerate some J&J vaccine deliveries to May that had earlier been set for June, and also will provide assistance to Merck. Federal officials have cautioned that setting up the highly specialized manufacturing lines to produce vaccines would take months.

Its single-dose vaccine looked promising, but even before it had been approved for emergency use, it was clear that the company would not be able to meet its contracted production.

"J&J manufacturing facilities will now begin to operate 24-7, and will use the Defense Production Act to expedite critical materials in vaccine production, such as equipment, machinery and supplies", Biden said.

Victor Villegas, 78, right, receives a COVID-19 vaccine shot from a health care worker at a vaccination site in the Mission district of San Francisco, Monday, Feb. 8, 2021.

CVS now lists educators in MA as eligible for the coronavirus vaccine. It said it would instead focus its work on developing treatments for COVID-19. Merck released a statement saying in part, "Merck remains steadfast in our commitment to contribute to the global response to the pandemic and to preparing to address future pandemics".

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