U.S. Could Produce Up to 1 Billion Vaccine Doses by Year-End
President Joe Biden said Friday that the U.S. could produce up to 1 billion Covid-19 vaccine doses by as early as the end of the year.
The “hope and expectation” is for the remainder of 2021, the U.S. will “be able to vaccinate every American,” Biden said after a day of meetings and ceremonies at the White House with South Korean President Moon Jae-in.
States are introducing innovative ways to draw residents to get inoculated. Oregon joined states offering lottery winnings to people who get vaccinated, where one person could win $1 million. New York, Ohio, Maryland and Kentucky are also offering lottery prizes or tickets to encourage vaccinations, as the pace for shots slows nationwide.
A measure of U.S. deaths related to Covid-19 fell to the second-lowest level since the earliest days of the pandemic. The seven-day moving average of deaths reached 580 on Thursday, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University and Bloomberg.
In South Korea, about 550,000 servicemen who work in close contact with U.S. forces will also get fully vaccinated, Biden said in a joint press conference with Moon, adding it’s “both for their sake and the sake of the American forces.”
South Korea has been eager to secure supplies of vaccines that the U.S. has recently allowed to be exported. More than 5 million doses of vaccine have been administered in South Korea, covering about 5% of the population, according to the Bloomberg Vaccine Tracker. At the current rate of vaccination, it would take a projected 2.5 years to cover 75% of the population with a two-dose vaccine. Vaccinations started about 11 weeks ago in the country.
Biden said he and Moon discussed the possibility of a U.S. vaccine producer partnering with South Korea, which “with the help of that particular company will be able to make significant numbers of vaccines for themselves.”
Earlier on Friday, Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo said “American manufacturers are working closely with the Biden administration to get Covid vaccines to Korea.”
The White House announced this week that it planned to escalate global exports of vaccines by the end of June.
Biden said Monday he’d export 20 million doses of vaccines from Pfizer Inc., Moderna Inc. or Johnson & Johnson, on top of 60 million AstraZeneca Plc doses he had already planned to give to other countries.
©2021 Bloomberg L.P.