Biden Administration Plans to Expand Covid Vaccine Production


“The idea of making a business plan with two companies rather than a public health plan is disturbing to us,” stated Dr. Joia Mukherjee, chief medical officer of Partners In Health, a world public well being nonprofit. “We believe that Biden has the power, particularly with Moderna because so much of it was taxpayer funded, to demand the sharing of patents and know-how.”

Some activists, livid with what they regard because the administration’s gradual progress, turned up on the dwelling of Ron Klain, Mr. Biden’s chief of workers, in September and deposited a pretend mountain of bones on the sidewalk in protest. Another group protested outdoors Mr. Zients’s dwelling on Wednesday morning.

Addressing criticism that the Biden plan shouldn’t be targeted on constructing capability abroad, Dr. Kessler stated that home manufacturing “is important not only for the U.S. supply, but for global supply.”

At the identical time, partnering with huge drug makers provides no ensures. Mr. Biden introduced earlier this 12 months that he had brokered a cope with Merck & Co., the pharmaceutical big, to manufacture Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine, together with for different international locations. Officials hailed the partnership as historic, saying it slot in with the president’s imaginative and prescient of a producing marketing campaign just like the one Franklin D. Roosevelt spearheaded to produce provides for World War II.

But the Merck deal has not panned out as anticipated. Administration officers initially hoped Merck would start producing the vaccine’s key ingredient by the top of this 12 months, however that won’t occur till April, Dr. Kessler stated.

Congress put a complete of $16.05 billion within the American Rescue Plan this 12 months, in two separate tranches, that could possibly be used to procure and manufacture therapies, vaccines and different instruments for ending the pandemic.

But in an evaluation launched this summer season, the AIDS advocacy group Prep4All discovered that every one instructed, the administration had spent $145 million — simply $12 million of it from the American Rescue Plan — to develop vaccine manufacturing. Most went to retrofitting Merck’s manufacturing strains.