Biden Says U.S. Will Distribute J&J Vaccine as Fast as It’s Made

President Joe Biden said the federal government will distribute Johnson & Johnson’s coronavirus vaccine as fast as the company can produce it, if the shot is approved by the Food and Drug Administration.

“If -- if -- the FDA approves the use of this new vaccine, we have a plan to roll it out as quickly as Johnson & Johnson can make it,” Biden said Thursday at an event to celebrate the injection of 50 million doses of coronavirus vaccines since he took office.

The event was intended to highlight the administration’s effort to curb the pandemic, Biden’s top campaign promise, which depends largely on accelerating vaccinations. The administration has also sought to increase coronavirus testing and re-open schools -- all while new, more transmissible variants of the virus have begun to circulate, threatening progress.

“The more people get vaccinated, the faster we’re going to beat this pandemic,” Biden said.

The administration has said it will immediately allocate between 3 and 4 million doses of the J&J vaccine upon its approval, with just over two million going directly to states. The company has said it will deliver 20 million doses by the end of March.

It’s long looked likely that Biden would easily surpass his goal of 100 million doses in 100 days, as the pace was approaching 1 million a day even before his inauguration. The administration hit the halfway mark just 36 days into his presidency. He’s pushing Congress to pass his $1.9 trillion pandemic relief bill, which would dedicate more money to testing, reopening schools and vaccinations.

“At first critics said that goal was too ambitious, no one could do that. Then they said it was too small,” Biden said. “America will be the first country, perhaps the only one, to get that done. We’re halfway there.”

But Biden has complained that his team inherited a far messier Covid-19 response plan than it anticipated, with little coordination between the federal government and states and not enough vaccines to meet demand.

So far, more than 500,000 Americans have died of the disease, a milestone that Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris marked at the White House earlier this week with a moment of silence.

On Friday, Biden is expected to visit a vaccination site in Texas when he travels to the state to survey storm damage.

©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

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