Biden announces new vaccination timeline, major partnership

President Joe Biden announced a partnership between pharmaceutical giants Merck & Co. and Johnson & Johnson, adding that there would be enough vaccines for every adult in the U.S. by the end of May.
5:20 | 03/03/21

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Transcript for Biden announces new vaccination timeline, major partnership
Good evening and it's great to have you with us here on this Tuesday night. And we begin tonight with the very encouraging words from president Biden late today. The president revealing a new timeline for vaccinations in this country, after first saying there would be enough vaccine for every adult in the U.S. By the end of July. The president is now saying there will be enough by the end of may, two months earlier. And tonight, part of what's speeding up this timeline, president Biden announcing a historic partnership between two drug companies. Merck helping Johnson & Johnson produce that one-shot vaccine faster and earlier than expected. The first Johnson and Johnson shots given out today. This is the third vaccine in the U.S. And this is a one-shot vaccine. These images tonight from Ohio state university in Columbus. One woman got a caught at 10:00 this morning offering her a 2:00 appointment. She called it, quote, a miracle. But this does appear to be moving tonight. 51 million people have now had at least one dose. That's 20% of all adults. But amid the good news, the warning to remain vigilant. Masking and social distancing because of the variants. Three recent studies tonight finding covid patiences who recovered have been reinfrequented by the Brazilian variant. And the number of states now easing restrictions despite the CDC director and Dr. Fauci urging caution. Texas for one tonight announcing the statewide mask mandate ends next week, allowing businesses to open at 100% capacity. President Biden making news tonight on vaccinating teachers and reopening schools. And so we have it all covered for you here. We begin with ABC's Eva pilgrim tonight leading us off right here in New York. Reporter: Tonight, president Biden with this encouraging headline, that the U.S. Is on Ack to have enough vaccine for every adult by the end of may. This country will have enough vaccine supply, I'll say it again, for every adult in America by the end of may. By the end of may. That's progress. Reporter: Johnson & Johnson had said they would supply the country with 100 million doses by the end of June. But today, the president invoking the defense production act in an historic partnership between the company and pharmaceutical rival Merck to ramp up production, enabling j&j to now have its 100 million doses ready by the end of may. The president also announcing that under the federal pharmacy program, pre-k through 12 teachers, staff and childcare workers will be prioritized for vaccinations. Our goal is to do everything we can to help every educator receive a shot this month, the month of March. Reporter: Today, those much anticipated Johnson & Johnson single dose vaccines finally making their way into the arms of Americans. The name and the one shot and I just felt like this is what I had to do. Reporter: The vaccine also 85% effective at preventing severe illness and 100% effective at preventing hospitalizations and deaths. Nearly 4 million doses now headed to vaccination sites across the U.S. The CDC also expected to give the green light this week for fully vaccinated people to have small gatherings in their homes with others who've also been vaccinated. The CDC still asking vaccinated people to wear masks and social distance in public. After weeks of covid cases on the decline, the daily case average has increased 3.4% from a week ago. Despite the uptick, at least 11 states have either recently loosened restrictions or plan to in the coming week. And in Texas -- It is now time to open Texas 100%. Reporter: The governor ending its statewide mask mandate and alouing all businesses to fully reopen starting next week. Reporter: Owners say they Now, with the governor's announcement, some owners tell me they face a real dilemma. Do we continue to stay open, put our community at risk or do we lose our life savings and, you know, the hundreds of thousands of dollars that we put into this restaurant? Reporter: This, as three still unpublished studying found the Brazilian variant not only more contagious, but in Brazil, it appears it may be able to reinfect people who had previously had covid. The variant so far has been found in at least seven states. Health experts doubling down that now is not the time to eas restrictions. If we do not completely suppress this, we will continue to be challenged by variants which have a way of coming back to bite us, as they say. So, let's get right to Eva pilgrim. And Eva, Dr. Fauci not alone there in his warning. The CDC director on the variants, as well, also saying that now is not the time to relax critical safeguards. She said when we've come this far, when we're this close to significant vaccinations in this country. And president Biden echoing that just tonight. Reporter: Yeah, president Biden repeating that same sentiment of his top health officials when he was making the announcement about the historic partnership between Johnson & Johnson and Merck, telling the American public, now is not the time to let up, now is not the time to let our guard down. David? All right, Eva pilgrim leading us off here tonight. Eva, thank you.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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