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Covishield, the local name for the AstraZeneca vaccine, on the production line at Serum’s plant in Pune, India, in Jan. 2021.
Covishield, the local name for the AstraZeneca vaccine, on the production line at Serum’s plant in Pune, India, in Jan. 2021. (Dhiraj Singh/Bloomberg)

WASHINGTON — The Biden administration is planning to invest billions of dollars to expand U.S. manufacturing capabilities of coronavirus vaccines to increase the supply of doses for poorer nations, the White House said Wednesday.

The White House is aiming to spur the production of at least 1 billion doses a year. The funds will support companies that make mRNA vaccines, such as Pfizer and Moderna, by helping them expand their capacity by funding facilities, equipment, staff and training.

For months, the United States has been under pressure to play a larger role in sharing vaccines with the world, and Wednesday announcement is the latest partnership between the federal government and pharmaceutical companies to bolster vaccine production during the pandemic. The effort is also designed to prepare the U.S. for future pandemics to ensure the country's manufacturing will be able to quickly produce vaccines, the White House said.

"The goal is to guarantee capacity to produce 100 million mRNA vaccines against COVID or other pandemic viruses upon demand for the United States or global use," said David Kessler, the administration's chief science officer who oversees vaccine distribution. "We are looking to enter into a historic partnership with one or more experienced pharmaceutical partners. This partnership will be used for COVID and any future pandemic viruses with the goal of having enough vaccines available within six to nine months of the identification of the virus."


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