Biden holds event with Johnson & Johnson and Merck CEOs

President announces purchase of 100 million more J&J vaccine doses

FILE - In this March 5, 2021, file photo, President Joe Biden participates in a roundtable discussion on a coronavirus relief package in the State Dining Room of the White House in Washington. Biden laid out an ambitious agenda for his first 100 days in office, promising swift action on everything from climate change to immigration reform to the coronavirus pandemic. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky, File) (Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

President Biden hosted an event with the CEOs of Johnson & Johnson and Merck Wednesday afternoon at the White House.

The president announced the purchase of 100 million additional doses of the company’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.

The live stream for these event has ended.

What makes J&J vaccine different than the others

The J&J vaccine can be stored in a normal refrigerator unlike the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines -- it’s not a mRNA vaccine.

Instead, the J&J vaccine uses a harmless, weakened cold virus to carry instructions into the body to trigger the immune response and a method developed a decade ago and used for an ebola vaccine.

Johnson & Johnson CEO Alex Gorsky is a native Michigander. He used this Motown metaphor to describe the vaccine:

“Think of it as a car being made in Detroit with a basic chassis that had been used, and we took the different types of an interior and put it in for COVID-19,” said Gorsky.

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