President Biden said he would direct states to prioritize vaccinating teachers, with the intention of opening schools up at the earliest.
President Joe Biden has announced that the United States will have enough Coronavirus vaccine doses to vaccinate every adult American by the end of May. Biden's announcement means the anticipated timeline for vaccinating the people in America has been considerably moved up. Biden said he would direct states to prioritize vaccinating teachers, making it evident that one of his aims was to help schools open up. "We want every educator, school staff member, and child-care worker to receive at least one shot by the end of this month. It’s time to treat in-person learning like the essential service that it is," said President Joe Biden. While the announcement doesn't mean all adult Americans will be vaccinated by the end of May, the administration says it will have enough doses to vaccinate everyone. The actual implementation of the vaccination will depend on distribution and the accessibility of personnel to administer the shots.
Biden's announcement means the timeline has been moved up by two months when compared to the Trump administration's aims to have enough shots by the end of July. "That's progress," said Biden from the White House, reported CNN. He urged there was still a long way to go before the country could return to normalcy and asked the people to not drop their guard. "There is light at the end of the tunnel, but we cannot let our guard down now to ensure victory is inevitable, we can't assume that. We must remain vigilant, act fast and aggressively and look out for one another. That's how we're going to get ahead of this virus, get our economy going again and get back to our loved ones," Biden said.
Today, President Biden announced a breakthrough collaboration between Johnson & Johnson, Merck, and the federal government to ramp up vaccine production. Because of these efforts, we will have enough vaccines for every American by the end of May–two months earlier than expected.— The White House (@WhiteHouse) March 2, 2021
Biden: "Fight is far from over"
Biden also took potshots at the Trump administration over its handling of the crisis. "We're making progress from the mess we inherited. We're moving in the right direction. And today's announcements are a huge step in our effort to beat this pandemic. But I have to be honest with you, this fight is far from over," said Biden. "Though we celebrate the news of a third vaccine, I urge all Americans, please keep washing your hands. Stay socially distanced. Wear masks, keep wearing them. Get vaccinated when it's your turn. Now is not the time to let up," added Biden.
The fight against COVID-19 is a war-time effort — and to win, we need breakthrough approaches. Today, I’m announcing we’re bringing together Johnson & Johnson, Merck, and the full power of the federal government to ramp up vaccine production and defeat this virus. pic.twitter.com/knu1PIXOtl— President Biden (@POTUS) March 2, 2021
White House to invoke the Defense Production Act
The President also announced that Merck, in partnership with Johnson & Johnson would help manufacture the vaccine developed by the latter. The vaccine had just been granted emergency use authorization by the US Food and Drug Administration on Saturday, and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended it for adults age 18 and older. The White House said it would invoke the Defense Production Act, which was used in World War II, to help enable the two Merck facilities to manufacture the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. The administration said it took the decision after it became apparent that Johnson & Johnson didn't have the capacity to meet the production requirements. "It simply wasn't coming fast enough," said Biden. Merck will set aside two of its facilities to help bolster the production of Johnson & Johnson.
The first Johnson & Johnson vaccine has been administered in the U.S. to 86-year-old Barbara Schmalenberger in Ohio. “When I got out of my car, I was shaking, I was so excited,” she tells @petemuntean. She said she was in tears trying to figure out how to get it.— Kaitlan Collins (@kaitlancollins) March 2, 2021
"20 million doses ready by March"
Johnson & Johnson's vaccine is the third vaccine to be authorized for emergency use by the FDA, after that of Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna. Unlike the other two vaccines, Johnson & Johnson's vaccine requires only one shot which makes it easier to vaccinate everybody faster. Johnson & Johnson's has already started the distribution of the vaccine with the first shots being administered on Tuesday in Ohio. The company also announced that 4 million doses of its vaccine were ready to shipped "immediately," before adding that it should have 20 million ready by the end of March. "We've developed an extensive partnership here in the United States and Europe and other places around the world and we're very confident in our ability to deliver 20 million doses by the end of March and 100 million doses in the first half of the year en route to a billion doses by the end of this year," said Alex Gorsky, the CEO, and chairman of Johnson & Johnson.
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