Official: Merck to help produce rival J&J’s COVID-19 vaccine

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WASHINGTON (AP) — Drugmaker Merck & Co. will help produce rival Johnson & Johnson’s newly approved coronavirus vaccine in an effort to expand supply more quickly.

That’s according to a Biden administration official who spoke on condition of anonymity ahead of a speech planned by President Joe Biden on Tuesday afternoon.

Officials have said J&J faced unexpected production issues with its vaccine and produced only 3.9 million doses ahead of its receiving emergency use authorization on Saturday.

The company is on pace to deliver 100 million doses by the end of June.

The assistance from Merck was expected to help J&J meet its production commitments and expand supply even further.

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