HHS to purchase more doses of Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccine

March 11, 2021

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) plans to purchase an additional 100 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine developed by Janssen Pharmaceuticals, which is a part of Johnson & Johnson, President Joe Biden said in a news briefing in which he was joined by executives from both Johnson & Johnson and Merck.

The new doses of the vaccine will be available in the latter half of the year, adding to the 100 million doses Johnson & Johnson is contractually obligated to provide by June 2020.

The purchase of additional vaccine doses follows an announcement last week that Merck and Johnson & Johnson have agreed to work together to produce and package the COVID-19 vaccine. Specifically, Merck has agreed to adapt the facilities in the United States to produce drug substance and to formulate and fill vials with the COVID-19 vaccine.

Given those supplies plus the COVID-19 vaccine doses the government has purchased from Pfizer and Moderna, President Biden again predicted that “we’re now on track to have enough vaccine supply for every American adult by the end of May – months earlier than anyone expected.”

Already, 60% of Americans 65 years or older have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, President Biden said, referring to the fact that the vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna require two doses. The Johnson & Johnson product is a single-dose vaccine.

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