March 10 (UPI) — President Joe Biden on Wednesday said his administration plans to order 100 million additional COVID-19 vaccine doses from Johnson & Johnson.
Biden met with Johnson & Johnson CEO Alex Gorsky and Merck CEO Ken Frazier for a discussion at the White House on Wednesday afternoon, and he praised the two companies for coming together to produce vaccines and accelerate distribution.
“There is light at the end of this dark tunnel of this past year, but we cannot let our guard down now or assume victory is inevitable. Together we’re going to get through this pandemic and usher in a healthier and more helpful future,” Biden said.
The president reiterated his pledge that the United States will have enough COVID-19 vaccines for every adult to be fully vaccinated by the end of May.
Wednesday’s deal would give the United States 800 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine from three manufacturers, Johnson & Johnson, Moderna and Pfizer/BioNTech.
The United States has delivered 127,869,155 vaccine doses and administered 95,721,290 as of Wednesday, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The United States has reported 29,137,386 cases of COVID-19 and 528,652 deaths related to the virus, according to data gathered by Johns Hopkins University.
While the new doses may not be available before May, Biden stressed that the acquisition was important to ensure that the nation is prepared.
“There’s always a chance that we’ll encounter unexpected challenges, or there will be a new need for a vaccination effort. A lot can happen, a lot can change,” he said.
Biden added that the United States would share surplus vaccines with the rest of the world.
On Thursday, Biden will make his first prime-time address marking the one-year anniversary of shutdowns related to the COVID-19 pandemic.