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.
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.
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.