He also announced that he would instruct states to prioritize teachers in their vaccination schedules and reiterated the obligation to bring students back to classrooms amid a confusing attitude from administration about when and how classrooms can be reopened.
The new date does not mean that all Americans would be shot by May 31st. All doses may take much longer to complete due to distribution and staffing issues.
However, the faster estimate, backed by a new partnership among major U.S. drug makers, is an optimistic target as millions of Americans wait to get their first doses. The timeline is accelerating by two months, which is the government’s previous goal of getting enough recordings by the end of July.
“This is progress,” Biden said in a White House comment warning that there could still be delays in the shooting of Americans’ arms and suggested that the country would not be long would return to normal.
“There is light at the end of the tunnel, but we cannot let go of our watch now to ensure that victory is inevitable. We cannot accept this. We have to stay vigilant, act quickly and aggressively and take care of each other.” We will be one step ahead of this virus, get our economies back on track, and get back to our loved ones, “Biden said.
Biden also announced that he would instruct states to prioritize teachers in their vaccine distribution plans in order to reopen schools.
“Let’s treat personal learning as an essential service that it is,” he said, adding that his goal is for every teacher or school worker to receive at least the first dose of a vaccine by the end of March.
In his remarks, Biden announced that Merck would help manufacture an approved vaccine recently developed by Johnson & Johnson that would enable the new target for May. The order is unusual and underscores the urgency to produce and distribute enough vaccine doses to vaccinate as many Americans as possible.
Biden hailed the partnership as a way to get sluggish vaccine production up and running quickly, likening it to corporate collaboration during World War II.
The White House said it was using the Defense Manufacturing Act to equip two Merck plants to manufacture the Johnson & Johnson product, including by strengthening the filling capacity when the cans are put into vials and by increasing the availability of the components of vaccinations.
The decision was made after administrative officials realized that Johnson & Johnson was not going to meet its manufacturing goals.
“It just didn’t come fast enough,” said Biden.
The proposed partnership was first reported by the Washington Post.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved the Johnson & Johnson vaccine on Saturday for emergency use, and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended it to adults ages 18 and older. The vaccine is already being distributed and the first shots were fired in Ohio on Tuesday.
Two Covid-19 vaccines from Pfizer / BioNTech and Moderna have already been approved by the FDA for emergency use in the United States. Unlike these vaccines, the Johnson & Johnson vaccine only requires one shot.
Merck had been working on developing its own Covid-19 vaccine but halted efforts in late January after early studies showed that immune responses were inferior to natural infections and other Covid-19 vaccines.
Merck is expected to use two of its facilities to support Johnson & Johnson, said an administrator in a rare partnership between two competitors.
Administration officials expressed their surprise and disappointment last month when it became clear that Johnson & Johnson would receive fewer starting doses of its vaccine than originally planned due to manufacturing issues at its facilities.
The company said it had approximately 4 million doses of its vaccine ready to ship “immediately” and should have 20 million ready by the end of March.
“We have built an extensive partnership here in the US, Europe and other locations around the world and we are very confident that we can dispose of 20 million cans by the end of March and 100 million cans in the first half of the year.” Year on the way to one billion cans by the end of this year, “Johnson & Johnson CEO and chairman Alex Gorsky told CNN on Monday.
The announcement came as Biden and federal health officials warned of easing coronavirus restrictions as gains against the pandemic appear to be on a plateau.
“We are making headway out of the chaos we inherited. We are moving in the right direction. And today’s announcements are a huge step in our efforts to end this pandemic. But I have to be honest with you, this fight is far.” away from it. ” over, “Biden said on Tuesday. He warned that the situation could worsen as new varieties spread and unforeseen setbacks like winter weather hinder vaccine distribution.
“Although we celebrate the news of a third vaccine, I urge all Americans to keep washing their hands. Stay socially distant. Wear masks, keep them on. Get vaccinated when it is your turn. Now is not the time to let up. ” Biden added.
The president also reiterated his call for all Americans to wear masks during his first 100 days in office, hours after Texas Governor Greg Abbott and Mississippi Governor Tate Reeves, both Republicans, announced their states would lift mask mandates.
During a Covid-19 response team briefing at the White House on Monday, CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said she was “deeply concerned” about the possible postponement of the course of the pandemic.
While the number of new daily cases had decreased, the most recent 7-day average of new cases – at around 67,200 people – represents an increase of just over 2% over the previous seven days. The most recent 7-day average of deaths has also increased by more than 2%.
“Please listen to me clearly: at this level of variant proliferation cases, we will completely lose the hard-earned ground we have gained,” Walensky said on Monday.
Walensky said the country can stop the tide of cases in the country by wearing an appropriate mask, maintaining social distance, practicing good hand hygiene and avoiding crowds.
“Please keep your convictions strong,” said Walensky. “Keep wearing your well-fitting mask and doing the other public health prevention measures that we know will work.”
CNN’s Jason Hoffman and Kristen Holmes contributed to this report.