Merck to Accelerate COVID-19 Vaccine Supply & Distribution

Soon after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) for the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine, Merck — one of the largest American based pharmaceutical companies in the world — has committed to assisting in the manufacturing process to speed up production and supply of the third vaccine.

The commitment stems from the Biden administration’s goal to rapidly provide COVID-19 vaccines to all adults across the nation by the end of May 2021. As the country continues to face a plethora of challenges, such as facilitating enough vaccination sites to administer vaccines, President Biden’s administration will be prioritizing the vaccination of educators in the month of March as students return to classrooms.

The administration has invoked the Defense Production Act to get two Merck facilities up to the standards necessary to safely manufacture the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. The pharmaceutical company is aware that it may take months to fully equip these manufacturing plants. In response, the company and its contract manufacturers are moving to round-the-clock production, posting full-time technicians to accommodate immediate machinery repairs, and accepting daily logistical help from the Department of Defense, the administration said.

Merck prides itself on having extensive experience as a vaccine producer and is confident in the use of these two facilities to vastly increase supply of vaccines. 

“Though we celebrate the news of the third vaccine, I urge all Americans to please keep washing your hands, stay socially distanced and wear masks. Keep wearing them, get vaccinated when it’s your turn. Now is not the time to let up.”

President Joe Biden

Johnson & Johnson claims they are on pace to produce 100 million vaccines by the end of June. In sync with the Biden administration’s goal, the federal government will also increase the weekly supply of other authorized vaccines to states from 14.5 million to 15.2 million doses.   

As outlined on their website, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) encourages everyone to continue taking precautionary steps to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 (i.e. hand washing, mask wearing, social distancing, etc.).

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