President Biden said on Tuesday that a key milestone in the fight against COVID-19 could be reached two months faster than earlier projected. By the end of May, there should be enough vaccine doses for every adult in America, he said — a dramatic improvement to his initial timetable for late July.
A turning point in speeding up that pledge came a few weeks ago, on a Sunday afternoon in early February, during a phone call with Johnson & Johnson executives that had been planned for 15 minutes but stretched for longer than an hour, two senior administration officials told NPR.
Biden administration officials had been pushing vaccine-makers to find ways to get more doses faster. Early talks with Moderna and Pfizer led to increased commitments. “Those are some of the hardest negotiations — I’ve done a lot of them,” said one of the officials involved in the talks.