Johnson & Johnson can be in preliminary talks with Merck, a significant American pharmaceutical firm, about utilizing its manufacturing strains, one among a number of concepts that federal well being officers mentioned with the Biden transition workforce. Federal officers are inquisitive about boosting the nation’s vaccine-making energy long-term, and Merck’s services could also be among the many few with remaining manufacturing functionality.
However Dr. McClellan, who sits on Johnson & Johnson’s board of administrators, stated it might take months to adapt Merck’s manufacturing unit to provide Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine. A senior administration official predicted that it may take till the tip of the yr.
Different vaccine makers may come via by midyear. Novavax has labored to iron out what have been just lately dire manufacturing issues that delayed its scientific trials. Moncef Slaoui, the chief scientific adviser for the Trump administration’s vaccine growth program, stated in a current interview that Novavax may apply for emergency use authorization in late April. The federal government has already ordered 110 million doses of the Novavax vaccine, to be delivered by the tip of June, and Novavax has stated it believes it could actually meet that concentrate on.
Mr. Biden has surrounded himself with new well being officers assigned to getting vaccines from factories to recipients, together with Dr. Bechara Choucair, the previous Chicago well being commissioner who’s the White Home’s vaccinations coordinator, and Tim Manning, a former high official on the Federal Emergency Administration Company who’s now the availability coordinator. Dr. David A. Kessler, the previous F.D.A. commissioner, will assist lead the federal authorities’s vaccine growth program on the Division of Well being and Human Companies, with particular consideration to manufacturing.
After each the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines proved to be extremely efficient in scientific trials late final yr, the Trump administration thought of whether or not to rethink its technique of backing six completely different vaccine makers and as a substitute throw all of its weight behind the confirmed producers. One senior administration official described “numerous hours of debate” over the problem.
Ultimately, officers determined it was vital to maintain aiming for a broad portfolio of vaccines, partially as a result of nobody has discovered which vaccines may work greatest for kids or be only towards rising variants. They beneficial that the Biden administration do the identical.
Katie Thomas and Donald G. McNeil Jr. contributed reporting.