Johnson & Johnson, Merck team up to help produce COVID-19 vaccine

A new partnership with two New Jersey-based companies, Johnson & Johnson and Merck, is gaining global attention, working together to help accelerate the nation’s plans to reach "herd immunity" in the U.S.
The target for enough vaccines for the entire adult population in the United States was originally set for the end of July, but now, President Joe Biden says the country should reach that goal by the end of May.
Rahway-based Merck will begin helping produce the vaccine made by rival company Johnson & Johnson. Under the agreement fostered by the Biden Administration, Merck would devote two plants to the production process. One would make the vaccine, and the other would handle inserting the vaccine into vials and ensuring quality control.
Johnson & Johnson shipped out this week nearly four million doses nationwide, with plans to have 20 million rolled out by the end of the month, and 100 million by the end of June. With Merck coming on board, it's estimated supplies of the vaccine could double.
Still, President Biden is urging Americans to stay focused for the time being.
"But my hope is by this time next year, we're going to be back to normal, and before that, my hope, but again, it depends upon if people continue, continue to be smart and understand that we still can have significant losses,” says President Biden.
The president does warn that actually delivering the injections could take longer, but calls the move a major step forward.
States are also expected to get more than 15 million doses of Pfizer and Moderna's vaccines every week.