US Stops AstraZeneca Vaccine Production at Baltimore Plant After J&J Debacle

See first dose of Johnson & Johnson Covid-19 vaccine being administered

U.S. ousts Astra from factory, puts J&J in charge

Johnson & Johnson's single-shot coronavirus vaccine was approved for emergency use in the U.S. at the end of February, becoming the third vaccine to be authorised by the FDA (in addition to the Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines).

However, one of the federal officials said the Department of Health and Human Services was discussing working with AstraZeneca to adapt its vaccine to combat new coronavirus variants.

The United States government blocking AstraZeneca from using the Baltimore factory that botched 15 million coronavirus vaccine doses, and placed its rival Johnson and Johnson exclusively in charge of the facility instead. The papers reported the mix-up ruined a batch equivalent to about 15 million doses.

The government's move to have the facility make only the J&J single-dose vaccine is meant to avoid future mix-ups, the Times said, citing two senior federal health officials. Last month, a batch of Johnson & Johnson "drug product " failed quality control and was taken out of production, both J&J and Emergent have said. Company representatives told The New York Times in a statement that Johnson & Johnson still anticipated shipping most of its projected vaccine doses.

The vaccine has already been approved for adults in the US. "We isolated this batch and it will be disposed of properly".

Emergent was also producing a substance for AstraZeneca's vaccine - a vaccine that so far has not been authorized for use in the U.S. But following the incident, it will no longer use the facility to produce ingredients for the AstraZeneca vaccine. The government is working with AstraZeneca to relocate that production.

But she made it clear that the ultimate responsibility would rest with Johnson & Johnson, saying: "It is important to note that even when companies use contract manufacturing organizations, it is ultimately the responsibility of the company that holds the emergency use authorization to ensure that the quality standards of the FDA are met".

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