White House Plans Major Expansion of Covid Vaccine Production


“The idea of making a business plan with two companies rather than a public health plan is disturbing to us,” mentioned Dr. Joia Mukherjee, chief medical officer of Partners In Health, a worldwide 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 sluggish progress, turned up on the house of Ron Klain, Mr. Biden’s chief of workers, in September and deposited a fake mountain of bones on the sidewalk in protest. Another group protested outdoors Mr. Zients’s house on Wednesday morning.

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

At the identical time, partnering with large drug makers presents no ensures. Mr. Biden introduced earlier this yr that he had brokered a deal with Merck & Co., the pharmaceutical big, to fabricate 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 provide 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 yr, however that won’t occur till April, Dr. Kessler mentioned.

Congress put a complete of $16.05 billion within the American Rescue Plan this yr, in two separate tranches, that may very well be used to acquire and manufacture remedies, vaccines and different instruments for ending the pandemic.

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



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