President Biden said Tuesday that the US expects to take delivery of enough coronavirus vaccines for all adult Americans by the end of May, two months earlier than anticipated, as his administration announced that drugmaker Merck & Co. will help produce rival Johnson & Johnson’s newly approved shot. With the bolstered supply, Biden also announced he would be using the powers of the federal government to direct all states to prioritize vaccinating teachers, and said the federal government would provide the doses directly through its pharmacy program. He challenged states to administer at least one dose of the vaccine to all teachers by the end of March as part of his administration's efforts to reopen more schools across the nation, the AP reports.
"We're now on track to have enough vaccine supply for every adult in America by the end of May," said Biden, who likened the partnership between the two drug companies to the spirit of national cooperation during World War II. The announcement comes as the White House looks to speed the production of the single-dose J&J vaccine, and accelerate plans to reach "herd immunity" in the US and begin restoring normalcy. Biden noted that vaccine supply was only one bottleneck toward that goal, and that the new challenge will be injecting doses into arms as swiftly as possible. To that end, the Biden administration told governors Tuesday to prepare for their supplies of vaccine to continue to climb over the coming weeks. Additional doses are also heading toward a federally backed program to administer doses in more accessible retail pharmacies.
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