President Joe Biden announced Tuesday that the country is on track to have vaccines for every adult by the end of May 2021.
Biden’s announcement comes just after the administration brokered a deal between Johnson & Johnson and Merck, two pharmaceutical giants, in an effort to ramp up production of Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccine. The White House tweeted that this “breakthrough collaboration” has resulted in the new timeline.
“We’re now on track to have enough vaccine supply for every adult in America by the end of May,” Biden said during remarks at the White House.
Biden noted that the two companies “are working together on the vaccine” despite normally being “competitors.” Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine is single-dose and the company began shipments Monday morning, according to CBS News.
While Johnson & Johnson’s shipments are less than expected, the company has plans to deliver over 20 million more doses by the end of March. By the end of June, Johnson & Johnson aims to have delivered 100 million vaccines, CBS News noted.
Biden also addressed who will get vaccinations first during his Tuesday remarks. Teachers for grades pre-kindergarten through 12th grade have the opportunity to get their vaccinations through the federal pharmacy vaccination program in March, he said.
The president urged states to prioritize childcare works and school staff. Despite the announcement, the timeline doesn’t mean everyone will be vaccinated by the end of May. Biden noted that it may take time to get appointments, NewsHour White House reporter Meredith Lee tweeted.
Despite the expedited timeline, Biden noted that changes still must be made to get Americans vaccinated. He said they “need vaccinators” — people who can give the shot to others — and announced that the administration is “increasing the places where people can get vaccinated.”
“With this increased production of three safe and effective vaccines, we have an opportunity to address the urgent national need more quickly and getting our schools back open safely,” Biden said.