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Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

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Photo: Hannah Beier/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The White House is planning to offer U.S. drugmakers billions of dollars to ramp up COVID-19 vaccine production capacity, aiming to produce at least 1 billion doses a year, White House COVID-19 response coordinator Jeff Zients said Wednesday.

Why it matters: The Biden administration's investment comes as pressure mounts on the U.S. to support vaccine distribution in low-income countries.

Driving the news: The investment is also aimed at preparing for and preventing future pandemics, according to Zients.

  • "This program would also help us produce doses within six to nine months of identification of a future pathogen and ensure enough vaccines for all Americans," Zients said.
  • The New York Times first reported the administration's investment.

The big picture: The investment, which will forge a partnership between the federal government and pharmaceutical companies, is aimed at supporting companies that produce mRNA vaccines, according to Zients.

  • "It would combine the expertise of the U.S. government in basic scientific research with the robust ability of pharmaceutical companies to manufacture mRNA vaccines," Zients said.
  • The partnership will help expand the companies' vaccine manufacturing capacity by providing funding for equipment and training, among other things, according to the Washington Post.
  • Production is set to begin by the second half of 2022, Zients said.

The bottom line: "We hope companies step up and act quickly to take us up on this opportunity to expand production of mRNA vaccines for the current pandemic and set us up to react quickly to any future pandemic threats," Zients said.

Go deeper: The global coronavirus vaccine gap

Editor's note: This story has been updated with new details throughout.

Go deeper

Updated Dec 6, 2021 - Health

NYC to impose vaccine mandate on private employers

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio (D) on Monday announced a new COVID vaccine mandate for all private companies.

Why it matters: De Blasio, speaking on MSNBC's "Morning Joe," said the "first-in-the-nation measure" will go into effect starting Dec. 27. It will apply to approximately 184,000 businesses.

Scoop: Trump-backed Perdue says he wouldn’t have certified Georgia 2020 results

Perdue at a December 2020 campaign event in Columbus, Ga. Photo: Elijah Nouvelage/Getty Images

Georgia gubernatorial candidate David Perdue wouldn’t have signed the certification of the state’s 2020 election results if he had been governor at the time, the former Senate Republican told Axios.

  • “Not with the information that was available at the time and not with the information that has come out now. They had plenty of time to investigate this. And I wouldn’t have signed it until those things had been investigated and that’s all we were asking for," he said.

Why it matters: There has been no evidence widespread fraud took place in Georgia's elections last year and the November results were counted three times, once by hand.

Beijing Olympics: These countries have announced diplomatic boycotts

Photo: Zhang Qiang/VCG via Getty Images

Several countries, including Canada and Australia, have announced they will join the U.S. in a diplomatic boycott of the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics to protest human rights abuses committed by China's government.

Driving the news: Leaders have faced pressure from human rights groups and others to boycott the Games, pointing to the ongoing genocide of Uyghurs and other Muslim minorities in China's Xinjiang region and other abuses.