U.S. President Joe Biden announced on the 2nd (local time) that it will secure enough COVID-19 vaccine to be vaccinated by all adults in the U.S. by the end of May. Previously, the goal was to secure 300 million cycles by the end of July, which means that the timing was advanced by two months.
As such, the momentum in securing the vaccine is that the Johnson & Johnson (J&J) vaccine, which has an immunity effect with a single vaccination, has begun to be distributed under emergency permission from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and President Biden initiated the Defense Goods Production Act. This is because the company decided to increase vaccine production further. AstraZeneca vaccine is also expected to be licensed in April.
According to the government’s order that day, US pharmaceutical giant Merck will help manufacture and package its rival J&J vaccine at two factories, and J&J also decided to operate the facility 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to increase supply. It is said that it is very unusual for two companies, long rivals in the US pharmaceutical industry, to join hands.
With Merck’s help, J&J is expected to be able to double its production volume within a few months. Earlier, the initial volume of J&J vaccine was made at a plant in the Netherlands, not the United States.
President Biden said on the day that “the partnership between the two companies is historical.” “We are on the right track,” he added. “Today’s announcement is a very big step in our efforts to defeat the epidemic,” he added.
The U.S. has been able to speed up securing supplies by producing three types of vaccines, from Pfizer, Bioentech, and Modena to J&J. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the number of Americans who received more than one vaccination by this day is 50.7 million, accounting for about 15.3% of the population. This week, an average of 1.8 million people have been vaccinated nationwide per day.
At this rate, it seems that it will be able to keep its pledge to get 100 million Americans vaccinated within 100 days of taking office. President Biden announced that he would use the federal government’s authority to the fullest and encourage all teachers to complete at least one dose by the end of March. The Joe Biden administration is taking a drive to normalize schools early, but some teachers’ unions have put vaccination as a prerequisite.
President Biden stressed that “it is still a long time before the fight is over,” as if fearing that the public’s alertness would be relieved with the expansion of vaccine supply. “It takes more time for everyone to get the vaccine,” he said. “Please keep paying attention, such as wearing a mask,” he said. Even when asked about when to return to normal life, he lowered his eye level, saying, “I hope we can do that around this time next year.”
However, contrary to President Biden’s order of caution, a decision was made that day to stop wearing masks in Texas and Mississippi.
Regarding this, CDC director Rochelle Walensky stressed that “the hard-earned achievements can be destroyed in an instant,” and “now is not the time to relax safety standards.” CDC does not plan to apply the rapidly relaxed guidelines for vaccinations.
The Biden administration is also pushing ahead with plans to distribute the Corona 19 vaccine to Asian countries along with Japan, India and Australia, the Financial Times (FT) reported on the 3rd, citing six well-known officials. The United States, Japan, India, and Australia form the “Quad,” a security consultative body to check China. It is a paving stone to contain China, which is actively engaged in vaccine diplomacy.
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