‘We want to be in surplus’: US buys 100 million extra doses of J&J vaccine

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President Joe Biden said on Wednesday afternoon his administration would purchase an additional 100 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine from Johnson & Johnson by the end of the year.

The announcement came during an event in Washington, DC, which Biden hosted with the CEOs of J&J JNJ,
-1.96%
and rival drug maker Merck MRK,
-0.80%,
Which one is help produce J & J’s single-shot vaccine.

“I’m doing it because in this war effort we need maximum flexibility,” Biden said of purchasing the extra doses. “There is always a chance that we will encounter unexpected challenges or that there is a new need for a vaccination effort. A lot can happen, a lot can change, and we must be prepared. “

The goal of Biden’s decision is to have enough vaccines on hand to immunize children and, if necessary, give booster doses or reformulate the vaccine to combat emerging variants, according to one. New York Times Report citing anonymous administration officials.

“We want to be over-provisioned and over-prepared,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki said ahead of Biden’s announcement.

In addition to J & J’s single-injection vaccine, the US government also purchases two different vaccines that require two injections – one from Pfizer PFE,
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and another from Moderna MRNA,
-1.62%.

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Some analysts viewed Wednesday’s decision as a step towards what has been called “vaccine diplomacy.

“With this order, the United States will have enough doses to immunize 500 million people, and there are 330 million people in the country,” Stephen Stanley, chief economist at Amherst Pierpont, said in a note.

“And by the way, there are at least two other vaccine candidates in the pipeline (Oxford / AstraZeneca AZN,
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and Novavax NVAX,
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) that could get approval in the spring, and we are committed to purchasing at least 100 million doses each from them upon approval, ”added Stanley. “I have to assume that President Biden is positioning himself to donate excess doses overseas for the purpose of making friends and influencing people around the world.”

Biden also addressed what could be excess doses in the United States.

“If we have a surplus, we will share it with the rest of the world,” the president said at Wednesday’s event, noting that his administration is giving $ 4 billion to the World Health Organization’s Covax program, which aims to ensure vaccine equity for low-income countries.

“We’re not going to be ultimately safe until the world is safe, so we’re going to start by making sure the Americans are taken care of first, but then we’re going to try to help the rest of the world. world. “

More than 62 million people, or 18.8% of the U.S. population, received at least one dose of a COVID019 vaccine on Wednesday, according to a tracker managed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The venue for Wednesday’s event was moved to Washington from a Baltimore manufacturing facility for Emergent BioSolutions, another J&J partner, after the The New York Times reported that EBS emerges,
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had used its DC connections to gain inordinate influence over the country’s emergency stocks of drugs and medical supplies and to increase purchases of its anthrax vaccines.

On Saturday, Biden said he expects the federal government to take delivery of enough COVID-19 vaccines to provide vaccines to all adults in the United States by mid-may.

“It’s going to take longer to put it in their arm, but that’s how much vaccine we will have,” the president said on Saturday.

american stocks
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DJIA,
-1.58%
closed with gains on Wednesday as an inflation report showed only a modest rise that matches expectations, pushing bond yields lower.

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