White House exploring tapping drugmakers to produce rivals’ vaccines

A medical worker fills a syringe with a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccine at the CHIREC St Anne-St Remi Clinic in Brussels, Belgium January 27, 2021.
REUTERS/Yves Herman

By Rebecca Spalding, Reuters

The White House COVID-19 response team on Wednesday raised the possibility that drug manufacturers who are not making vaccines may be tapped to produce Pfizer’s or Moderna’s vaccines under the Defense Production Act.

“I don’t want to talk about specific names but I will say that we are exploring every possible option,” Andy Slavitt, senior advisor to the White House’s COVID-19 response team, told a media briefing when asked whether the Biden administration might force one drug maker to produce another’s vaccine.

“These are delicate processes, very sterile processes and have to be done in a way that actually completely works but we’re not afraid to explore every option to get more vaccines to the public as quickly as possible.”

Biden has said that he will leverage the government’s authority under the Defense Production Act to meet supply needs in twelve areas that have immediate shortages, including shortages in dead-space needle syringes and protective equipment.

Sanofi’s CEO Paul Hudson said that his company will make 100 million doses of vaccine made by rival Pfizer in a Tuesday interview with newspaper Le Figaro.

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