- Biden plans to announce the government’s intent to purchase 100 million more J&J vaccine doses.
- He will make the announcement during a meeting with J&J and Merck executives, NBC News reported.
- Congress is also on track to pass a sweeping $US1.9 ($2) trillion COVID-19 relief bill this week.
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President Joe Biden will announce on Wednesday the government’s intent to purchase another 100 million doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine for COVID-19, NBC News reported, citing two administration officials.
Biden will make the announcement during a meeting with executives from J&J and Merck, who are both working together to expedite production of J&J’s single-dose vaccine, the report said. Earlier this month, the president told reporters that the partnership would ensure that there would be enough vaccine doses for every American adult by the end of May.
A J&J spokesperson told Insider that the company is “on track” to meet its commitment to deliver the first 100 million doses and added that the US government “has the option to purchase additional doses under a subsequent agreement.”
“We look forward to any future discussions with the U.S. Government and to participating in the event at the White House later today,” the spokesperson said.
CNN also reported that the Biden administration and J&J still need to negotiate the specifics of the deal and when the additional doses will be available. A source told the news outlet that the final details will likely be ironed out later this year, as J&J speeds up production of the vaccine.
The White House did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.
The government had previously reached an agreement with Pfizer and Moderna for 200 million more COVID-19 vaccine doses by the end of July. But the partnership between J&J and Merck would speed up the process and ensure that there were enough doses for every US adult two months earlier, Biden said.
Congress, meanwhile, is on track to pass a sweeping $US1.9 ($2) trillion COVID-19 relief package this week. The Democratic-controlled Senate on Saturday passed the bill, called the American Rescue Plan, in a party line vote of 50-49. And the House is expected to pass it Wednesday afternoon, meaning Biden could sign it as early as this week.
The bill would provide $US1,400 ($1,817) stimulus payments for most taxpayers, $US300 ($389) weekly federal unemployment aid through early September, fund vaccine distribution and testing, expand the child tax credit, and distribute money for state and local governments.
Andy Dunn contributed to this report.