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Biden Administration Plans to Expand Covid Vaccine Production

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“The concept of creating a marketing strategy with two corporations relatively than a public well being plan is disturbing to us,” stated Dr. Joia Mukherjee, chief medical officer of Partners In Health, a worldwide public well being nonprofit. “We imagine that Biden has the ability, significantly with Moderna as a result of a lot 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 dwelling of Ron Klain, Mr. Biden’s chief of employees, in September and deposited a faux mountain of bones on the sidewalk in protest. One other group protested outdoors Mr. Zients’s dwelling on Wednesday morning.

Addressing criticism that the Biden plan will not be centered on constructing capability abroad, Dr. Kessler stated that home manufacturing “is necessary not just for the U.S. provide, however for world provide.”

On the similar time, partnering with huge drug makers gives no ensures. Mr. Biden introduced earlier this yr that he had brokered a take care of Merck & Co., the pharmaceutical large, to fabricate Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine, together with for different international locations. Officers 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 supply provides for World Warfare II.

However 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 stated.

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

However in an evaluation released this summer, the AIDS advocacy group Prep4All discovered that each 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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