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Biden to announce Merck will work with Johnson & Johnson to manufacture coronavirus vaccine

Johnson & Johnson vaccine vials against the COVID-19 coronavirus are seen at the Klerksdorp Hospital as South Africa proceeds with its inoculation campaign on February 18, 2021. (Photo by Phill Magakoe / AFP) (Photo by PHILL MAGAKOE/AFP via Getty Images via CNN)

(CNN) — President Joe Biden is expected to announce Tuesday that Merck & Co. will partner with Johnson & Johnson to help manufacture the company’s coronavirus vaccine, administration officials familiar with the matter confirmed to CNN.

One official added that Biden will address it during his remarks at the White House Tuesday afternoon, hailing the partnership as a way to quickly jumpstart the sluggish vaccine production.

The planned partnership was first reported by The Washington Post.

Merck had been working on developing its own Covid-19 vaccine, but discontinued its effort at the end of January after early studies showed immune responses were inferior to natural infection and other Covid-19 vaccines.

Merck is expected to dedicate two of its facilities to helping Johnson & Johnson, an administration official said, in a rare partnership between two competitors.