Merck Helps Johnson & Johnson Vaccine Production

As President Biden promises enough vaccine doses for all American adults by the end of May, companies are scrambling to increase vaccine output.

Video Transcript

JOE BIDEN: We're now on track to have enough vaccine supply for every adult in America by the end of May.

JAMES PACKARD: A major sign of progress in the American pursuit of vaccines, enough shots for all Americans by the end of May, two months earlier than previously announced.

JOE BIDEN: It's not enough to have the vaccine supply. We need vaccinators, people to put the shots in people's arms.

JAMES PACKARD: This while a second company comes online to help make a fierce competitor's vaccine.

JOE BIDEN: Johnson & Johnson was behind in manufacturing and production.

JAMES PACKARD: President Biden announcing his administration arranged for Merck to dedicate two facilities to pump out Johnson & Johnson's single shot vaccine, assigning the shot a central role in beating back a worrying projection. Some 50,000 more deaths the best case scenario.

JEFF ZIENTS: J&J has communicated that the supply will be limited for the next couple of weeks.

JAMES PACKARD: Now questions about how much J&J vaccine is on the way.

JEN PSAKI: States are also receiving 2.8 million of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine this week.

JAMES PACKARD: That is a million doses short of what White House COVID coordinator Jeff Zients said Monday, all compounding concerns about a slow vaccine rollout. Across the US, states have fully vaccinated only a small percentage of their population. And in places like Illinois, Texas, New York, and Florida, only a fraction of eligible people have so far been inoculated.

GREG ABBOTT: It is now time to open Texas 100%.

JAMES PACKARD: But as Texas rescinds a mask order and cities like Chicago lift more restrictions, health officials are worried a downward trend in COVID cases won't continue. Now while the US struggles to deliver enough vaccine for its own, China is sending their shots all over the world. Half a million doses arriving in Venezuela overnight, Chinese vaccine diplomacy in action while the US considers a request from Mexico's president to share doses.

JEN PSAKI: The president did not make any commitments, nor did he give a timeline.

KRISHNA UDAYAKUMAR: When you're making diplomatic decisions in two or three years, you may have fond memories of who was there to help you in the middle of a crisis.

JAMES PACKARD: James Packard, Newsy, Chicago.