THURSDAY, March 11, 2021 (HealthDay News) -- An additional 100 million doses of the Johnson & Johnson single-shot COVID-19 vaccine will be ordered by the U.S. government by the end of the year, President Joe Biden announced Wednesday.
The move means there should be enough doses on hand to vaccinate children and, if necessary, give booster doses or reformulate the vaccine to combat emerging, more contagious variants of the virus, The New York Times reported. The announcement came during a White House meeting Biden held with executives from Johnson & Johnson and the pharmaceutical giant Merck. The rival companies are partnering to ramp up production of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine in a deal brokered by the White House.
Biden has said that every American adult -- roughly 260 million people -- will have access to a vaccine by the end of May. But the senior officials said the administration was trying to prepare for unexpected challenges, The Times reported.
The officials said that they expected the doses to be delivered sometime in the second half of this year, the newspaper said. The Biden Administration has said the J&J/Merck collaboration will boost production and improve the J&J packaging capacity, known in the vaccine industry as "fill-finish" -- two big bottlenecks that have put the company behind schedule.