The White House announced on Tuesday that Merck & Co., a rival to the drugmaker to Johnson and Johnson, will help to produce more Covid-19 vaccinations.
J&J Vice President Richard Nettles told lawmakers on Capitol Hill last week that the company had faced “significant challenges” because of its “highly complex” manufacturing process. The company has fallen short on its daily production goals to meet the 100 million shot guarantee by June.
Assistance from Merck was expected to help Johnson and Johnson meet its production commitments and expand supply even further. However, it is not known how specifically Merck will help to achieve that goal.
Merck halted its own plans to develop a coronavirus vaccine earlier this year, finding that their candidates were generating an inferior immune system response compared with other vaccines. It said it would instead focus its work on developing treatments for COVID-19.
Unlike the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines, the Johnson and Johnson vaccine is a one-dose shot, allowing for greater numbers of Americans to be vaccinated quicker.
Additionally Johnson and Johnson has reported that it’s vaccine can be stored at room temperature, rather than Moderna and Pfizer, which require it to be stored frozen.