President Joe Biden held a press briefing on Tuesday to share encouraging news on the COVID-19 vaccine front. “We’re now on track to have enough vaccine supply for every adult in America by the end of May,” Biden said. This timeline is two months ahead of the previously announced date, thanks to this week’s authorization of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
“As you know,” Biden said, “a few days ago, after a rigorous opening—open and objective scientific review process, the Food and Drug Administration issued an emergency use authorization for the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine. We should all be encouraged by this news of a third safe and highly effective COVID-19 vaccine,” he said.
Biden outlined how his administration has approached the fight against COVID-19 as a “wartime effort,” and how his administration has employed the Defense Production Act to expedite critical materials in vaccine production, such as equipment, machinery, and supplies.
Biden also announced that Johnson & Johnson and competing company Merck will work together to expand producation. “Today, we’re announcing a major step forward: Two of the largest healthcare and pharmaceutical companies in the world—that are usually competitors—are working together on the vaccine. Johnson & Johnson and Merck will work together to expand the production of Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine. This is the type of collaboration between companies we saw in World War Two,” Biden said.
“We have a long way to go, but, you know, as I said from the outset, we’re going to use every resource of the federal government to make it happen,” Biden continued. “We’re making progress from the mess we inherited. We’re moving in the right direction.”
The president closed his remarks by encouraging Americans to continue doing their part in protecting themselves and others from COVID-19: “I urge all Americans, please keep washing your hands, stay socially distanced, wear masks—keep wearing them, get vaccinated when it’s your turn. Now is not the time to let up. I’ve asked the country to wear masks for my first 100 days in office. Now is not the time to let our guard down. People’s lives are at stake,” Biden said.