Biden Cancels Visit to Vaccine Maker After Times Report on Its Tactics

Emergent has more than $600 million in contracts with the federal government to manufacture coronavirus vaccines and to expand its “fill-and-finish” capacity for completing the process of manufacturing vaccines and therapeutics. A senior administration official said only executives from Merck and Johnson & Johnson would attend the White House session on Wednesday. An Emergent spokeswoman did not immediately respond on Monday to questions about the cancellation. The spokeswoman, Nina DeLorenzo, had previously defended the company’s business with the government in written responses to questions, saying, “When almost no one else would invest in preparing to protect the American public from grave threats, Emergent did, and the country is better prepared today because of it.”The Times investigation focused on the stockpile, which became infamous during the coronavirus pandemic for its lack of critical supplies such as N95 masks and other personal protective equipment. When asked about The Times article during the White House press briefing on Monday, Ms. Psaki said, “The administration is going to undertake a comprehensive review and audit of the national stockpile.”Decisions about how to spend the repository’s limited budget are supposed to be based on careful assessments by government officials of how best to save lives, but The Times found that they were largely driven by the demands and financial interests of a handful of biotech companies that have specialized in products that address terrorist threats rather than infectious disease.

March 08, 2021 20:51 UTC

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