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J&J-Merck Collaboration To Boost COVID Vaccine Production To Vaccinate All Americans By May

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President Joe Biden announced that his administration is on track to have enough anti-coronavirus vaccine supply for every adult in the United States by the end of May.

To achieve this target, Johnson & Johnson will work with Merck to expand the production of the single-shot coronavirus vaccine developed by its vaccine division, Janssen Biotech.

Biden said he invoked the Defense Production Act to equip two Merck facilities to the standards necessary to safely manufacture the J&J vaccine.

Johnson & Johnson's vaccine manufacturing facilities will now begin to operate 24/7 to accelerate vaccine production. The President also asked the Department of Defense to provide daily logistical support to strengthen Johnson & Johnson's efforts.

The Food and Drug Administration had issued an emergency use authorization last week for a third vaccine against the COVID-19 pandemic, named "Janssen COVID-19."

Biden said retired doctors and nurses have been brought back to vaccinate people, with thousands more federal medical personnel to follow.

"We're also increasing the places where people can get vaccinated. We've sent millions of vaccines to over 7,000 pharmacies to make it easier for folks to get their COVID-19 vaccine shot like they would their flu shot," he added.

"And with this increased production of three safe and effective vaccines, we have an opportunity to help address the urgent national need more quickly and getting our schools back open safely," Biden said.

Biden is directing all U.S. states to make sure that every educator, school staff member and childcare worker to receive at least one vaccine shot by the end of March.

Starting next week, pre-K through 12 educators and staff and child-care workers will get priority for vaccination.

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said in a press briefing that in the White House COVID team's weekly meeting with the governors, another supply increase for states, tribes, and territories — from 14.5 to 15.2 million doses per week, has been announced. Additionally, states are also receiving 2.8 million of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine this week, so they are receiving a total of 18 million doses.

With 55161 new cases reporting on Tuesday, the total number of coronavirus infections in the United States rose to 28719624, as per Johns Hopkins University's latest update.

In the same period, 1951 more people died due to the pandemic, taking the total death toll in the U.S. to 516608.

Only three states reported more than 5000 cases Tuesday.

A total of 46,388 COVID-19 patients are currently hospitalized in the country.

The number of hospitalized patients has come way down during the past two months.

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