President Biden is expected to announce to the White House on Tuesday a partnership between its competitors Johnson & Johnson and pharmaceutical giant Merck. The partnership, first reported by The Washington Post, could be aimed at helping Johnson & Johnson produce more of itssingle injection vaccine.
Johnson & Johnson began shipping 4 million doses early Monday morning – 6 million less than what it had originally pledged to prepare by the end of February. The company plans to deliver more than 20 million doses by the end of March and 100 million by the end of June.
How to watch Biden’s remarks today
What: President Biden talks about COVID-19 pandemic
Dated: Tuesday 2 March 2021
Time: 4:15 p.m. ET
Location: State Dining Room, White House – Washington DC
Online feed: Live of CBSN in the player above and on your mobile or streaming device
A senior administration official confirmed the Washington Post report to CBS News, adding that Merck would dedicate two factories to filling and producing the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. This has the potential to significantly increase the vaccine supply, although it may take a few months to start Merck’s production process.
Merckon developing its own COVID-19 vaccines in January, following poor results in preliminary studies. The drugmaker said its potential vaccines were well tolerated by patients, but generated a lower immune system response than competitors.
Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine has been shown to provide 85% protection against severe COVID-19 28 days after vaccination. Among people who have received the vaccine in clinical trials, there have been no deaths related to COVID.
J & J’s product is a single-dose vaccine, and could solve a delivery hurdle: getting second doses to the arms on time. It is the third vaccine to be approved in the United States, joining those developed by Pfizer / BioNTech and Moderna, both of which require a person to be given two weeks apart.
Millions of Americans do not receive their second dose within the recommended timeframe for optimal protection against the virus, according to a CBS MoneyWatch review of CDC data. As of Wednesday, more than 2.8 million Americans who received their first vaccine – nearly 12% of those vaccinated – had not received their second dose in the 28-day prescribed interval for Moderna’s vaccine.
Speaking on “CBS This Morning” on Monday, Alex Gorsky, CEO of J&J, said of the single-dose vaccine: “That’s 100 million people at the end of June who can have a single injection and being the ease of logistics that this will represent is important, not only for our country but for people around the world. ”
Note: distribution plans are subject to change