A pharmaceutical plant that produced ingredients for Covid-19 vaccines developed by both AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson will supply the latter exclusively to the latter after a worker error there spoiled millions of doses.
US-based J&J said it “took full responsibility” at the Baltimore facility owned by Emergent BioSolutions. UK-based AstraZeneca said it would move production of Covid-19 vaccines from the facility to another location.
A reported 15 million dose of J & J’s vaccine was ruined last week after workers at the Baltimore factory accidentally mixed ingredients for the shot and the Oxford / AstraZeneca shot.
The error was a setback in efforts to instill confidence in people wary of the new vaccines being developed to fight a virus that killed more than 550,000 people in the US.
J&J said last week that it had identified a batch of drug substance that failed to meet quality standards at the Emergent plant, a New York-listed life sciences company.
In an update over the weekend, J&J said it was expanding its ranks of manufacturing, quality and technical personnel to work at the Baltimore plant as it took over vaccine manufacturing responsibilities there.
Still, J&J reiterated its commitment to deliver nearly 100 million doses of its vaccine to the US government by the end of May. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the US has fully vaccinated 61 million people, 4 million of which are J & J’s single shots.
Emergent’s Baltimore plant has not yet obtained an emergency permit from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to produce substances for the vaccine, and J&J said it would work toward that goal.
AstraZeneca said it is working with the federal government to implement plans to manufacture its vaccine in the US. “As part of that effort, and in full partnership with the US government, AstraZeneca will move production of its vaccine drug from the Emergent facility,” he said.
The measures came after the Biden J&J administration put control of the Baltimore plant and decided to stop making the Oxford / AstraZeneca vaccine, the New York Times reported, citing senior federal health officials.