Merck to help manufacture Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine

A Grand Rapids company is already making the vaccine

Merck to help manufacture Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine

DETROIT – President Joe Biden announced that pharmaceutical giant Merck & Co. will help manufacture Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccine.

The two competitors are joining together to boost the production of the vaccine. Merck had previously been working on two of its vaccine candidates but stopped that work after early clinical trial data showed a poor immune response.

READ: Michigan expected to receive 82,700 doses of J&J vaccine this week

Merck is expected to dedicate two of its facilities to the effort. According to one official, Biden will hail the new partnership as a way to jump-start vaccine production.

The arrangement comes after officials found out that Johnson & Johnson had fallen behind on production. The FDA authorized the vaccine for emergency use over the weekend, making it the nation’s third COVID-19 vaccine.

Roughly 4 million doses were shipped out on Monday. Johnson & Johnson has pledged 16 million additional doses by the end of the month.

READ: Michigan loosens COVID restrictions on restaurants -- here are all the details

Michigan is also playing a role in the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. A Grand Rapids company, Grand River Aseptic Manufacturing, is already making the vaccine.

Security concerns prohibit GRAM from talking about details like the number of vials produced, where it’s stored and other places it’s being produced.

READ: Grand Rapids-based Grand River Aseptic to help manufacture J&J vaccine

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Dr. McGeorge can be seen on Local 4 News helping Metro Detroiters with health concerns when he isn't helping save lives in the emergency room at Henry Ford Hospital.

Kayla is a Web Producer for ClickOnDetroit. Before she joined the team in 2018 she worked at WILX in Lansing as a digital producer.