Sydney Lupkin

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In the run-up to President Biden's promise on March 2 that there would be enough COVID-19 vaccines for every adult in the United States by the end of May, he talked up a Korean War era law called the Defense Production Act.

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Pharmaceutical giants Merck and Johnson & Johnson are normally competitors, but the Biden administration announced today that Merck will help make Johnson & Johnson's COVID-19 vaccine, which was authorized by the FDA over the weekend.

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Families banding together in shifts to try and get appointments, clogged phone lines and glitchy Web portals - the vaccine rollout in America has been a mess so far. All that as we're seeing a staggering rise in infections and after almost 400,000 Americans have died of COVID-19. And now we're learning that a federal deal to increase vaccine manufacturing has an unusual clause that could allow certain people to cut the line. NPR pharmaceuticals correspondent Sydney Lupkin is here to tell us about it. Good morning.

As the nation grapples with a slower-than-promised coronavirus vaccine rollout, one federal deal to increase factory capacity includes an unusual condition: the manufacturer would be allowed to earmark doses to vaccinate employees and their families, giving them an opportunity to skip the line that public health policymakers have been crafting for months.

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With Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine poised for Food and Drug Administration authorization for emergency use, there's speculation about when the United States will buy another batch of doses — and whether the Trump administration already missed its chance.

The Department of Health and Human Services has released the contract of pharmaceutical industry veteran Moncef Slaoui, a key adviser to Operation Warp Speed, after questions from the press, members of Congress and advocacy groups.

Operation Warp Speed is the Trump administration's multibillion-dollar push to develop and manufacture hundreds of millions of doses of coronavirus vaccine. Slaoui has been instrumental in guiding the effort, but the terms of his employment raised concerns about potential conflicts of interest.

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