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Official: Merck to help produce rival J&J’s COVID-19 vaccine

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Drugmaker Merck & Co. will help produce rival Johnson & Johnson’s newly approved coronavirus vaccine in an effort to expand supply more quickly

WASHINGTON — Drugmaker Merck & Co. will help produce rival Johnson & Johnson’s newly approved coronavirus vaccine in an effort to expand supply more quickly, a Biden administration official confirmed Tuesday.

The announcement comes as the White House looks to speed the production of the single-dose vaccine. Officials have said J&J faced unexpected production issues with its vaccine and produced only 3.9 million doses ahead of its receiving emergency use authorization on Saturday. The company says it is on pace to deliver 100 million doses by the end of June.

The assistance from Merck was expected to help J&J meet its production commitments and expand supply even further, but the administration did not immediately provide specifics.

President Joe Biden is set to highlight the development in a speech Tuesday afternoon. The official confirmed Merck’s involvement on condition of anonymity ahead of Biden’s public announcement.

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The news was first reported by The Washington Post.

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