Johnson & Johnson has teamed up with rival pharmaceutical company Merck to produce coronavirus vaccines. Johnson & Johnson agreed to provide the United States with 100 million doses of its single-shot vaccine by the end of June but has fallen behind schedule due to supply issues.
Under the partnership, which was reportedly brokered by the Biden administration, two Merck facilities will be used to manufacture Johnson & Johnson's vaccine. The first facility will make the vaccines, while the other facility will put them into vials and package them for distribution.
By working with Merck, Johnson & Johnson should be able to double the amount of vaccines it can produce, though it may take several months to get the facilities up and running. According to the Washington Post, President Joe Biden will use the Defense Production Act to ensure that Merck will have priority to buy equipment needed to upgrade the two facilities.
Merck discontinued the development of two potential coronavirus vaccines in January after data from early-stage clinical trials showed they had an "inferior" immune response.
Johnson & Johnson has already shipped out four million vaccines and is on pace to supply an additional 16 million doses by the end of the month.
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