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Biden Administration Plans to Broaden Covid Vaccine Manufacturing

“The thought of creating a marketing strategy with two corporations reasonably than a public well being plan is disturbing to us,” mentioned Dr. Joia Mukherjee, chief medical officer of Partners In Health, a world public well being nonprofit. “We imagine that Biden has the facility, notably with Moderna as a result of a lot of it was taxpayer funded, to demand the sharing of patents and know-how.”

Some activists, livid with what they regard because the administration’s sluggish progress, turned up on the house of Ron Klain, Mr. Biden’s chief of employees, in September and deposited a fake mountain of bones on the sidewalk in protest. One other group protested outdoors Mr. Zients’s house on Wednesday morning.

Addressing criticism that the Biden plan isn’t centered on constructing capability abroad, Dr. Kessler mentioned that home manufacturing “is necessary not just for the U.S. provide, however for international provide.”

On the similar time, partnering with huge drug makers presents no ensures. Mr. Biden introduced earlier this yr that he had brokered a deal with Merck & Co., the pharmaceutical big, to fabricate Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine, together with for different international locations. Officers hailed the partnership as historic, saying it slot in with the president’s imaginative and prescient of a producing marketing campaign just like the one Franklin D. Roosevelt spearheaded to supply provides for World Warfare II.

However the Merck deal has not panned out as anticipated. Administration officers initially hoped Merck would start producing the vaccine’s key ingredient by the tip of this yr, however that won’t occur till April, Dr. Kessler mentioned.

Congress put a complete of $16.05 billion within the American Rescue Plan this yr, in two separate tranches, that could possibly be used to acquire and manufacture remedies, vaccines and different instruments for ending the pandemic.

However in an evaluation released this summer, the AIDS advocacy group Prep4All discovered that each one advised, the administration had spent $145 million — simply $12 million of it from the American Rescue Plan — to develop vaccine manufacturing. Most went to retrofitting Merck’s manufacturing traces.

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