reported on Tuesday that Johnson & Johnson had informed European Union officials that production problems might delay shipments, and Canada’s prime minister, Justin Trudeau, said that he had heard similar warnings from the company.

In the United States, the company’s biggest worry was getting the vaccine bottled by two subcontractors. That “fill-and-finish” work is divided between a plant in Michigan run by Grand River Aseptic Manufacturing, or GRAM, and a plant run by Catalent in Bloomington, Ind. The Biden team pushed Johnson & Johnson to order GRAM to move from normal business hours to 24/7 operations, one senior administration official said. Another federal official said Johnson & Johnson was largely on track but did “scale up a bit faster” under pressure.

Officials also brokered an unusual partnership between Johnson & Johnson and a longtime competitor, Merck & Co. The Trump administration repeatedly explored using Merck’s plants to bolster vaccine production but never reached an agreement.

averaging 2.17 million doses per day.

Carefully calibrated goals “avoid losses,” said David Axelrod, the senior strategist for President Barack Obama’s campaigns in 2008 and 2012. “Certainly they must have learned that lesson from watching Trump.”

“Internally, you drive to the highest possible goal you can make. Externally, you set a floor that you are reasonably confident you can achieve,” he said.

Katie Rogers contributed reporting. Kitty Bennett and Susan Beachy contributed research.

View Source