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President Biden to announce massive partnership that will help get you the COVID-19 vaccine sooner

President Biden will announce a partnership between competitors Merck and Johnson & Johnson. Here’s why it matters

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In this Dec. 18, 2014, file photo, a person walks through a Merck company building, in Kenilworth, N.J. Merck & Co. is reporting third-quarter earnings of $2.94 billion on some very strong sales. President Biden will announce a partnership between competitors Merck and Johnson & Johnson. Here’s why it matters

In this Dec. 18, 2014, file photo, a person walks through a Merck company building, in Kenilworth, N.J. President Biden will announce a partnership between competitors Merck and Johnson & Johnson.

Mel Evans, Associated Press

President Joe Biden will announce Tuesday a new partnership agreement between competitors Merck and Johnson & Johnson, which will pave the way for more COVID-19 vaccinations and distribution, The Washington Post reports.

Details

Officials told The Washington Post that Johnson & Johnson had fallen behind with COVID-19 vaccine production. So they’ve struck a deal with Merck, a massive vaccine developer that did not develop a specific vaccine for COVID-19, to help create more doses, according to The Washington Post.

Merck will dedicate two facilities to help make Johnson & Johnson vaccines.

  • One facility will focus on “fill-finish” services, meaning it will center around filling vials and distribution.
  • The other facility will make the vaccine itself, per The Washington Post.
  • One official told The Washington Post: “It’s a historic partnership.
  • The same official said the companies “recognize this is a wartime effort.”

Why it matters:

  • The partnership is rather historic because both companies are competitors in the vaccination development field, according to The Washington Post.Merck attempted to create a coronavirus vaccine but failed to do so. Johnson & Johnson, meanwhile, has attempted to find a partner to help with distribution and development, The Washington Postreports.

Context

The Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine was approved for widespread emergency distribution during the coronavirus pandemic over the weekend, and it will begin hitting states this week, as I wrote about before.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky signed off on the vaccine after it received approval from the Food and Drug Administration too, allowing it to be released to the public.

  • “As a one-dose vaccine, people do not have to return for a second dose to be protected,” Walensky said, according to CNN. “In addition, this vaccine does not need to be kept in a freezer and can be stored at refrigerated temperatures — so it is easy to transport and store and allows for expanded availability in most community settings and mobile sites, as supply scales up.”

Is it safe?

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the White House adviser on the COVID-19 pandemic, said the Johnson & Johnson coronavirus vaccine is totally safe and you shouldn’t worry about it.

The Johnson & Johnson vaccine only requires one dose, but it has been noted to be 72% effective at stopping COVID symptoms. That said, trials showed the vaccine led to no hospitalizations or deaths from the novel coronavirus, as I wrote about before.