Biden to announce plan for additional 100 million J&J vaccine doses

The purchase will give the United States enough vaccine supply to immunize the entire population against coronavirus.

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President Joe Biden will purchase 100 million additional doses of the Johnson and Johnson vaccine against COVID-19 to speed up the fight against coronavirus in the United States.

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According to NBC News, Biden will announce that he is directing his Health and Human Services team to purchase the vaccine supply. The information was confirmed to the news outlet by two administration officials. Earlier this month, Biden revealed the country was on course to have everyone vaccinated against coronavirus by May.

This was after the Food and Drug Administration approved the J&J vaccine.

“This order allows for the president to plan for the future and the latter part of the year,” said White House senior adviser on COVID response Andy Slavitt to NBC. “This is war time, and as facts still emerge it gives us maximum flexibility for our upcoming needs.”

President Biden Participates In Roundtable Discussion On The American Rescue Plan
U.S. President Joe Biden listens during a roundtable meeting with Americans who will benefit from the COVID-19 pandemic relief checks that are a part of the American Rescue Plan on March 5, 2021 in Washington, DC. The participants are Alma Williams, Cedric Richmond who is the Senior Advisor and Director of the Office of Public Engagement, George Kerr, and Lyda Vanegas. (Photo by Samuel Corum/Getty Images)

Although enough vaccine supply for the population was secured through Moderna and Pfizer purchases, the new deal will stand as a backup should either of the aforementioned companies have production or supply issues. Slavitt revealed that it may be too soon to say when the additional doses would become available. However, according to the report, The White House announced this month that Johnson & Johnson would be working with Merck & Co. to enhance the production process for its vaccine.

NBC reported 91 million Americans have received at least one dose of a vaccine, while 32 million people and 60 percent of those over 65 are fully vaccinated and  health officials across the country are administering an average of 2 million shots a day.

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“We are at a critical point in this pandemic and on the cusp of having enough vaccines to protect every adult in the United States,” said Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Rochelle Walensky according to the report.  “We ask for your patience in practicing proven prevention measures for just a little while longer.”

According to the CDC, people are considered fully vaccinated two weeks after getting one dose of the J&J vaccine, or two weeks after getting the second dose of the Pfizer or Moderna. Social distancing and masks are still encouraged however, fully vaccinated people can gather indoors with other fully vaccinated people without wearing a mask.

Those with the vaccine are also guided to still avoid medium or large-sized gatherings, delay domestic and international travel, and should still watch out for symptoms of the virus, especially if directly exposed.

United Airlines Employees Receive COVID-19 Vaccination At O'Hare Airport
CHICAGO, ILLINOIS – MARCH 09: Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen COVID-19 Vaccine is stored for use with United Airlines employees at United’s onsite clinic at O’Hare International Airport on March 09, 2021 in Chicago, Illinois. United has been vaccinating about 250 of their O’Hare employees at the clinic each day for the past several days. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

As people continue to try to get the vaccine, the country is still entangled with coronavirus and citizens await government aid. theGrio reported the Senate narrowly approved a $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief bill Saturday as President Biden and his Democratic allies notched a victory they called crucial for hoisting the country out of the pandemic and economic doldrums.

The huge package — its total spending is nearly one-tenth the size of the entire U.S. economy — is Biden’s biggest early priority. It stands as his formula for addressing the deadly virus and a limping economy, twin crises that have afflicted the country for a year.

The bill provides direct payments of up to $1,400 for most Americans, extended emergency unemployment benefits, and vast piles of spending for COVID-19 vaccines and testing, states and cities, schools and ailing industries, along with tax breaks to help lower-earning people, families with children and consumers buying health insurance.

This article contains additional reporting from theGrio’s Associated Press.

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