Biden is facing a convergence of crises. The vaccine rollout has been rocky. At the same time, new, more infectious variants of the virus are making vaccination all the more urgent.
The purchase of the additional doses would increase the administration’s total vaccine order by 50%, raising it from 400 million to 600 million doses — enough to vaccinate 300 million Americans by the “end of the summer, beginning of the fall,” Biden said. Until now, the government has released 8.6 million doses to states, territories and tribal governments each week. That will now jump to around 10 million doses. The increase is the result of a boost in the supply of the vaccine from Moderna. J&J is expected to unveil the results of its clinical trials by the end of the month, then apply for emergency approval.