The unusual pact between fierce competitors Merck and J & J could sharply boost the supply of the newly authorized vaccine, senior administration officials said.
March 2, 2021

The Washington Post reports this morning that pharma giant Merck will join forces with Johnson & Johnson to manufacture their covid vaccine:

President Biden will announce Tuesday that pharmaceutical giant Merck & Co. will help make Johnson & Johnson’s single-shot coronavirus vaccine — an unusual pact between fierce competitors that could sharply boost the supply of the newly authorized vaccine, according to senior administration officials. The officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss a matter that has not been announced, said they began scouring the country for additional manufacturing capacity after they realized in the first days of the administration that Johnson & Johnson had fallen behind in vaccine production.

They soon sought to broker a deal with Merck, one of the world’s largest vaccine makers, which had tried and failed to develop its own coronavirus vaccine. Under the arrangement, Merck will dedicate two facilities in the United States to Johnson & Johnson’s shots. One will provide “fill-finish” services, the last stage of the production process during which the vaccine substance is placed in vials and packaged for distribution. The other will make the vaccine itself, and has the potential to vastly increase supply, perhaps even doubling what Johnson & Johnson could make on its own, the officials said.

This is really good news, and just shows the difference it makes when you have engaged federal leadership. Thanks to the incompetence of the other guy, the pandemic got much worse than it should , but now things are on track and if we all do our part, we're going to get a handle on things.

UPDATE:

The Defense Production Act has been invoked to get production up to speed fast.

UPDATE 2:

President Biden just announced that the measures he took means that there will be enough vaccines for everyone by May, two months earlier than previously thought. (Video above)

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