On Tuesday big pharmacy companies Merck and Johnson & Johnson announced a partnership to work together on Wuhan coronavirus vaccine distribution.
"President Joe Biden will announce Tuesday that pharmaceutical giant Merck will help make Johnson & Johnson’s Covid-19 vaccine, a senior administration official confirmed to NBC News...Under the arrangement, Merck will dedicate two facilities in the U.S. to J&J’s vaccine, the Washington Post reported earlier. One will make the vaccine and the other will provide “fill-finish” services, when the vaccine is placed in vials," CNBC reports. "J&J declined to comment to CNBC on the deal. In a statement, Merck said it 'remains steadfast in our commitment to contribute to the global response to the pandemic and to preparing to address future pandemics.'"
During the daily briefing at the White House Tuesday afternoon, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki was pressed on why President Biden is taking credit for the partnership since it was developed during the Trump administration under Operation Warp Speed.
"On the timing of the administration's effort to try pul this deal together, you said it was within the last few weeks. We wrote our first story about a possible partnership between Merck and J&J for manufacturing on January 21, when it published. So, in my understanding talks between those companies were in the works before that even in terms of sort of the corporate discussions between them," a reporter said. "So could you help explain why the Biden administration deserves credit for bringing these two together when it looks like the discussions had been underway long before you guys got here?"
"Just to be clear, I'm talking about when it was finalized so we could move it forward," Psaki responded. "There's a difference between conversations and it moving forward."
"I'm only conveying what got it across the finish line," she continued.