Biden will use Defense Production Act to help boost production of COVID-19 vaccines, at-home tests

Nation/world

The White House says President Joe Biden is using the Defense Production Act to help bolster vaccine production, at-home coronavirus testing kits and surgical gloves.

Tim Manning, the White House’s COVID-19 supply coordinator, says the administration will help Pfizer clear a bottleneck around capabilities with vaccine production by giving the drugmaker first priority to needed supplies.

Manning says the U.S. is also investing in six manufacturers to develop at-home and point-of-care tests for the coronavirus, with the goal of producing 60 million tests by the end of the summer.

“The country is well behind where we need to be in testing,” Manning says, and the new contracts will help boost supply.

Manning expects the nation will produce more than 1 billion gloves a month by the end of the year.

The Pentagon will also deploy troops to assist Americans getting vaccinated against COVID-19.

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin has approved a request for assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, Coronavirus senior adviser Andy Slavitt announced.

It means about 1,000 active duty military personnel will deploy to help state vaccination centers.

Biden has called for setting up 100 mass vaccination centers around the country within a month. Two are opening in California, and Slavitt says military personnel will arrive at those centers in a little over a week.

Slavitt says support from the military will support vaccination sites, helping administer thousands of shots a day. Currently about 6.9 million Americans have received the full two-dose regimen required to get maximum protection from the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines.

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