The Biden administration is currently trying to find outside firms to help boost production of coronavirus vaccines, a new report claims.
White House officials have allegedly reached out to several companies to ask about aiding with the fill and finish portion, or filling vials with the vaccine itself, sources exclusively told The Daily Beast.
It is unclear which companies the administration has approached but several are potential ‘frontrunners’ an announcement could be made in the coming days, the sources say.
Both Moderna Inc and Pfizer Inc, the makers of the only approved vaccines in the U.S., are running their factories at top speed and have been under pressure to scale-up manufacturing capacity.
Prior to taking office, President Joe Biden announced a rather ambitious goal of getting 100 million shots in arms in his first 100 days.
But the president and his team have since found themselves floundering and grappling to keep the virus under control while simultaneously dealing with a vaccine shortage.
So far, 31.8 million people – or 9.6 percent of the population – have received at least one dose and 5.6 million have been fully immunized.
The Biden administration is trying to sign agreements with other companies to help with what is called the fill and finish portion, or filling vials with the coronavirus vaccine itself. Pictured: Walgreens pharmacist Jessica Sahni prepares a Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine at The New Jewish Home long-term care facility in New York, December 2020
It comes as daily vaccinations finally increased to levels seen on Inauguration Day with 1.7 million people vaccinated on Thursday and 1.6 million each on Thursday and Friday
So far, 31.8 million people – or 9.6 percent of the population – have received at least one dose and 5.6 million have been fully immunized
The U.S. is not the first to attempt to make partnerships in an attempt to speed up the vaccine rollout that has lagged since its beginning.
French pharmaceutical firm Sanofi has signed an agreement with Pfizer Inc and its German partner BioNTech SE to help manufacture their COVID-19 vaccine.
Sanofi is currently developing its own vaccine with British pharmaceutical firm GlaxoSmithKline, but production is delayed after early clinical trial data proved disappointing.
With no vaccine of its own ready to produce, Sanofi decided to help BioNTech and Pfizer increase its manufacturing capacity.
‘We asked ourselves how we could render ourselves useful in the present, how to participate in the collective effort to get out of this crisis as quickly as possible,’ Sanofi CEO Paul Hudson told Le Figaro, according to a DailyMail.com translation.
‘We are going to use our factor in Frankfurt, Germany, to package the product that will be supplied to us by Pfizer-BioNTech.’
According to Hudson, Sanofi plans to produce 100 million doses of the vaccine by the end of the year.
Meanwhile, Johnson & Johnson’s candidate is not expected to be approved until potentially next month and Merck announced last week it was canceling development of both of its COVID-19 vaccine candidates after poor trials results.
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio criticized Merck’s decision on Monday during an appearance on MSNBC’s Morning Joe and said the company should focus on producing vaccines due to the shortage.
It comes as the Biden administration looks for ways to boost production capacity as new variants continue to sweep the country.
Among those efforts are talks to purchase 100 million more doses of the vaccine each from Pfizer and from Moderna.
The federal government had already signed an agreement with each company to purchase. 200 million doses of the inoculation.
This would bring the total number of doses purchase from the two firms from 400 million to 600 million.
Meanwhile, as Biden as sough to ramp up vaccination efforts, several states have been plagued by tech glitches and crashing websites.
California, Idaho, Mississippi and Georgia have all reported failing registration sites, undercounted appointments and a buggy tracking system.
Meanwhile, a Politico report on Saturday revealed the Biden administration has still yet to locate 20 million COVID-19 vaccine doses distributed to the states in December.
‘They are planning. They are competent. It’s just the weight of everything when you sit down in that chair. It’s heavy,’ a source with knowledge of the situation told Politico.