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The Wall Street Journal: U.S. production of COVID-19 vaccine dramatically speeds up

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COVID-19 vaccine manufacturers are ramping up production, churning out far more doses a week than earlier in the year, progress that is accelerating mass vaccination campaigns in the U.S.

After a slow start, Pfizer Inc.
PFE,
-0.67%
,
 its partner BioNTech SE
BNTX,
+3.80%
,
 and Moderna Inc.
MRNA,
+1.61%

 have raised output by gaining experience, scaling up production lines and taking other steps like making certain raw materials on their own.

Pfizer figured out how to stretch scarce supplies of special filters needed for the vaccine production process by recycling them. Moderna shortened the time it needed to inspect and package newly manufactured vials of its vaccine.

The companies—along with Johnson & Johnson
JNJ,
-0.27%
,
 which recently launched a Covid-19 vaccine—also are teaming up with other firms to further increase production.

In addition, the U.S. government has helped vaccine makers access supplies under the Defense Production Act, suppliers and government officials say. The Biden administration this month said it used the act to provide $105 million in funding to help Merck & Co.
MRK,
+0.31%

make doses of J&J’s COVID-19 vaccine and to expedite materials used in its production.

The U.S. monthly output for the three authorized vaccines is expected to reach 132 million doses for March, nearly triple the 48 million in February, according to estimates by analysts at Evercore ISI.

An expanded version of this report appears on WSJ.com.

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