The White House announced Tuesday plans to increase the weekly number of COVID-19 vaccines distributed to states by 700,000 doses.
“In our COVID team’s weekly meeting with the governors, we announced another supply increase for states, tribes and territories from 14.5 to 15.2 million doses per week,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki said during Tuesday’s press briefing.
“Furthermore, states are also receiving 2.8 million of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine this week, so they are receiving a total of 18 million doses.”
Soon after President Joe Biden took office in January, Psaki said 8.6 million doses were being shipped to states.
The increase came amid reports of difficulties to access vaccinations in certain areas, including Washington, D.C.
It also was expected to be announced Tuesday afternoon that Merck would help manufacture the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine, which was approved by the Food & Drug Administration for emergency use this past weekend.
Psaki said Biden would invoke the Defense Production Act to help support the manufacturing of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine and ask the Defense Department to offer logistical help.
Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine is one of three drugs approved for use to fight COVID-19 in the U.S. Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna are the others.
The administration’s goal is to have the entire U.S. population inoculated by July. Organizing the distribution effort, however, could pose hurdles for federal, state and local authorities.
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