Baku, March 11, AZERTAC
President Joe Biden on Wednesday directed his administration to procure 100 million more doses of the single-shot Johnson & Johnson coronavirus vaccine to boost U.S. supply in the event of “unexpected challenges” in the pandemic, according to Reuters.
The White House order comes as it seeks to speed up the process of inoculating people to curb the spread of COVID-19, which has killed more than 528,000 people in the United States alone.
Biden highlighted the move at a meeting with the chief executives of J&J and Merck & Co. Merck has agreed to partner with J&J to produce its vaccine.
“We need maximum flexibility. There’s always a chance that we’ll encounter unexpected challenges,” Biden said. “A lot can happen, a lot can change, and we need to be prepared.”
The president has said previously that the United States will have enough supplies to vaccinate the U.S. population by the end of May.
But the White House is eager to have more on hand.
If the country had additional supply, it would be shared, Biden said. “If we have a surplus, we’re going to share it with the rest of the world,” he said.
The United States has already paid over $1 billion for 100 million doses from J&J and had an option to purchase an additional 200 million doses.
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