According to the New York Times, 15 million doses of vaccine were tainted at a Baltimore plant
About 15 million doses of coronavirus vaccine produced by Johnson & Johnson (J&J) were tainted by a manufacturing error at a pharmaceutical plant in Baltimore. This complicated the company’s attempts to ramp up production of vaccines quickly, Agence France-Presse (AFP) reported Wednesday, citing the New York Times, whose journalists were the first to report the incident.
A J&J spokesman responded to AFP’s inquiry by saying the company had identified a batch of vaccine doses at the Baltimore plant that “did not meet quality standards,” without confirming the specific number of doses tainted. The Baltimore plant, according to AFP, is operated by Emergent BioSolutions. The company also said the “substandard quality” vaccine did not make it to the packaging stage of the manufacturing process.
“Quality and safety remain our priorities,” the report said.
However, the New York Times publication claims that quality control problems could affect the overall production of the vaccine. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is also expected to investigate the incident.
The FDA said it was “aware of the situation” but declined to comment further.
Johnson & Johnson said it has sent a team of experts to the Baltimore plant to “monitor, direct and support the production of Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccine.” This will allow the company to produce an additional 24 million doses of the vaccine in April. The Emergent BioSolutions plant has not yet received regulatory approval to produce the drug ingredient in the J&J vaccine.
The vaccine produced by J&J is praised for not needing a second dose and deep freezing, unlike Moderna and Pfizer vaccines, which makes it much easier to distribute. The company still plans to produce more than 1 billion doses of the vaccine by the end of the year.