Published: Wed, March 03, 2021
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United States begins Johnson & Johnson vaccine rollout

United States begins Johnson & Johnson vaccine rollout

On Monday, Baker said the new vaccine "will certainly dramatically boost" the state's vaccination efforts and "should mean a big increase" in the amount of vaccine available. "The more people who get vaccinated, the faster we're going to overcome this virus and get back to our loved ones, get our economy back on track, and start to move back to normal", he said.

Biden said the government will accelerate vaccine production with help from drugmaker Merck.

Biden announced the initiative on Tuesday evening in a speech announcing that the USA was now on track to have enough vaccine for all adults by the end of May.

"The mask mandate has been an important element in both encouraging behavior, but also sending a message about the importance of recognizing and understanding that COVID is still very much with us, and people need to take precautions", he said.

Just a few weeks ago, Biden had set the end of July as the target date for universal availability, but the timeline has been expedited, largely thanks to the addition of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine to the arsenal.

As vaccines are being administered at an increasing rate, Biden was asked when does he expect life to return to normal. And Dr. Richard Nettles, vice president of medical affairs for the company's pharmaceutical division, told a congressional subcommittee on February 23 that it will deliver more than 20 million doses by the end of March. Governors in two states today, Texas and MS, rolled back mask requirements in public.

Baker added that the state's mass vaccination sites will hold designated days for educators to get their shots, though details are still being worked out.

Biden said that every school and child care employee should be able to access at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine by the end of March.

Johnson & Johnson had announced it would provide the U.S. government with 100 million doses by end of June. "It's time to treat in-person learning like the essential service that it is". At least one former adviser to the Biden administration, Céline Gounder, said she didn't support it.

He said the USA government had invoked the Defence Production Act to help equip two Merck plants to make the J&J vaccine.

Compared to the two-dose versions produced by Moderna and Pfizer, the J&J vaccine is less resource-intensive to distribute and administer, making it critical for US plans to spread vaccinations around the world - but only once Americans are inoculated.

Merck last month said it was working on a deal to open up its manufacturing capacity to other vaccine makers.

The J&J vaccine is the third to receive United States regulatory approval for emergency use. "This vaccine has been shown to be highly effective in protecting against COVID-19-related hospitalizations and deaths, and those who receive it should have every confidence that they are protected against serious illness due to COVID-19 and its variants".

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