The Biden administration is arranging to purchase an additional 100 million doses of Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccine – enough when added to vaccines from other sources to provide the nation with sufficient doses to serve every American, the White House said Wednesday.
The actions come as states continue to ease pandemic restrictions; Texas has dropped them all, becoming open “100%,” Gov. Greg Abbott said.
Also Wednesday, the House of Representatives passed a $1.9 trillion pandemic-relief bill, which now goes to President Joe Biden for his signature. The stimulus package includes $1,400 checks for most Americans, billions for vaccines and money to reopen schools. Biden has said he’ll sign the legislation “as soon as I get it.”
Andy Slavitt, White House senior adviser for COVID response, announced the J&J purchase plan hours before Biden was expected to outline details in a meeting with executives from the company and Merck, the pharmaceutical giant tasked with helping J&J make its newly approved single-dose vaccine.
“This is wartime,” Slavitt said of the purchase. “It gives us maximum flexibility for our upcoming needs.”
The president said earlier this month, after the Food and Drug Administration cleared Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine, the U.S. was on track to produce enough vaccine doses for every American adult by the end of May.
The drugmaker had pledged to produce 100 million doses to the U.S. by the end of June. The time frame for when the additional 100…