News & Insights

COVID-19 Vaccine Updates

March 2, 2021

White House Invokes the Defense Production Act to Accelerate Johnson & Johnson Vaccine Production

On March 2, 2021, President Joseph Biden announced that he is invoking the Defense Production Act to equip two Merck faculties to the standards necessary to safely manufacture the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. Johnson & Johnson is also taking action to accelerate safe vaccine production and manufacturing facilities will operate 24/7. The Department of Defense will provide daily logistical support to Johnson & Johnson.

With these new developments, the Biden Administration expects to have enough vaccine supply for every adult in America by the end of May. President Biden stated that he will continue to use the Defense Production Act to expedite critical materials in vaccine production, such as equipment, machinery, and supplies.

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Merck also announced that they will receive funding from the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA), a division of the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR) within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), to make available existing manufacturing facilities to produce COVID-19 vaccines and medicines. Merck has entered into agreements with Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Inc. to produce drug substance, formulate, and fill vials of Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine. Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Inc., a Janssen Pharmaceutical Company of Johnson & Johnson, received an Emergency Use Authorization from the FDA on February 27, 2021 for its COVID-19 vaccine.

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