President Biden on Wednesday directed the government to purchase another 100 million doses of the Johnson & Johnson Covid-19 vaccine.
“There is light at the end of this dark tunnel of the past year, but we cannot let our guard down now or assume that victory is inevitable,” Biden said, adding, “There’s real reason for hope, folks.”
Biden met Wednesday afternoon with the top executives of Johnson & Johnson and Merck, which is helping to manufacture the Johnson & Johnson vaccine under an agreement announced by the administration last week.
The administration already said it had ordered enough vaccine doses to cover every American adult by the end of May, and the latest order, which likely won’t be ready for some time, is intended for longer-term use. “The White House's latest vaccine purchase is aimed at preparing for a range of longer-term scenarios, including the need to give people second ‘booster’ shots to guard against emerging Covid variants,” Politico reports.
Biden said Wednesday that if the U.S. has a surplus of vaccines it will share the additional doses with the rest of the world. “We’re not going to be ultimately safe until the world is safe. So we’re going to start off making sure Americans are taken care off first, but we’re then going to try to help the rest of the world.”