Merck’s factory in West Point will help produce Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccine, writes Harold Brubaker for The Philadelphia Inquirer.
The Montgomery County plant, which is also Merck’s largest pharmaceutical plant, will mix the key drug component of the vaccine with other ingredients and fill vials with the finished product.
At the earliest, the work on the vaccine that was approved by the Food and Drug Administration on February 27 could start in late May.
“We’re seeing two health companies – competitors – each with over 130 years of experience, coming together to help write a more hopeful chapter in our battle against COVID-19,” said President Joe Biden earlier this week at a White House event with the chief executives of Merck and Johnson & Johnson.
He also referred to the work by the companies as “a historic, nearly unprecedented collaboration” and announced that his administration is doubling its order to 200 million doses.
Currently, there are 4,000 manufacturing employees at the West Point factory, among a total of around 7,300 there. The company may potentially add employees to help expand its production of the vaccine.
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