Merck to Help Rival Johnson & Johnson Produce COVID-19 Vaccines

Virus Outbreak J J Vaccine

FILE – (Johnson & Johnson via AP, File)

Drugmaker Merck & Co. will help produce rival Johnson & Johnson’s newly approved coronavirus vaccine in an effort to expand supply more quickly.

That’s according to the White House, which said President Joe Biden would address the partnership in a speech Tuesday afternoon.

Officials have said J&J faced unexpected production issues with its vaccine and produced only 3.9 million doses ahead of its receiving emergency use authorization on Saturday. The company is on pace to deliver 100 million doses by the end of June.

The assistance from Merck was expected to help J&J meet its production commitments and expand supply even further.

The White House is announcing an increase in available coronavirus vaccines to 15.2 million doses a week, up from 14.5 million.

White House press secretary says only 8.6 million doses a week were available when Joe Biden became president in late January.

States are receiving 2.8 million doses of the newly approved Johnson & Johnson vaccine this week. That means a total of 18 million doses will go out this week. Upcoming shipments of the J&J vaccine could be uneven during the next few weeks as the company ramps up production.

(Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

Categories: Coronavirus, National News, News