But Johnson & Johnson and its partners lag behind in their manufacturing. The company was scheduled to deliver its first 37 million doses by the end of March, but has said that it would be able to deliver only 20 million doses by that date, upsetting the Biden associates.
In late January, Jeffrey D. Zeers, Mr. Biden’s coronovirus response coordinator, and Drs. David Kessler, who is managing vaccine distribution for the White House, reached out to the company’s top executives, including Alex Gorski, its chief executive officer. A blunt message: This is unacceptable.
According to two administration officials who participated in the discussion, Merck led a series of talks in February, in which administration officials repeatedly pressured Johnson & Johnson to admit he needed help.
Merck said in a statement on Tuesday that the federal government would pay $ 269 million to optimize it and make its existing facilities available for the production of coronovirus vaccines. Michael T., executive vice president of human health at Merck. Nalli said in an interview that the company was in talks with several companies and governments, including former Trump administration officials.
“I think we all believe that every day matters,” he said.
Mr Neely declined to estimate how many vaccines the company could ultimately produce, saying only that it would be “sufficient”. Extended supplies from Merck, however, are unlikely to be available for months.
A federal official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the administration extended Johnson & Johnson’s manufacturing time.
White House press secretary Jane Saki said those steps include a team of experts from the Department of Defense to oversee manufacturing and logistics support. In addition, the president will call Defense production actA Korean War-era law to give Johnson & Johnson access to the supplies needed to make and package a vaccine.