Merck, Johnson & Johnson join forces to speed up production, boost vaccine supply

By , WCBS Newsradio 880

NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. (WCBS 880) — Merck & Co. and Johnson & Johnson are joining forces to speed up vaccine supply.

The Biden administration is expected to announce Tuesday that Merck will help produce Johnson & Johnson's newly-approved, single-dose vaccine.

The news was first reported by the Washington Post.

A senior administration official confirmed to CBS News that the Washington Post report is accurate.

The official said Merck will dedicate two factories to filling and producing the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

The rare joint effort by the rival companies could dramatically increase the supply of the vaccine, though CBS News reports it could take a couple months to get the Merck production process going.

Nearly 4 million initial doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine are expected to be delivered across the country this week.

The Johnson & Johnson vaccine is the third to be approved by federal health regulators. Unlike the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, the Johnson & Johnson version only requires one shot.

Biden is expected to announce more details during a speech Tuesday.

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