Tuesday , June 15 2021

US appoints J&J responsible for plant that destroyed COVID vaccine and removed AstraZeneca

(Reuters) – The United States has appointed Johnson and Johnson as the plant’s manager, who spoiled 15 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine and stopped British drugmaker AstraZeneca Plc from using the facility.

PHOTO FILE: AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine vial (COVID-19) pictured in Berlin, Germany, March 16, 2021. REUTERS / Hannibal Hansche / File Photo

J&J said it was “taking full responsibility” for the Emergent BioSolutions facility in Baltimore, reiterating that it would deliver 100 million doses to the government by the end of May.

The Ministry of Health and Social Services facilitated the move, a health worker said in an email asking not to be named because of the sensitivity of the issue.

AstraZeneca, whose vaccine has not been approved in the United States, has said it will work with President Joe Biden’s administration to find an alternative site for the vaccine.

White House officials did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The development, first reported by the New York Times, further hampers AstraZeneca’s efforts in the United States. The government has criticized the drug maker for using outdated data in vaccine trials. It later revised its study.

Employees at Emergent BioSolutions combined ingredients for the J&J and AstraZeneca vaccines a few weeks ago, the Times reported earlier in the week. J&J stated that at that time the destroyed party had not moved to the stage of filling and completion.

The government’s efforts to ensure that the facility produces only a single-dose J&J vaccine are intended to avoid confusion in the future, the Times reported, citing two high-ranking federal health officials.

The top US infectious disease doctor told Reuters on Thursday that the country may not need the AstraZeneca vaccine, even if it is approved.

The United States has credit agreements to ship approximately 4 million doses of AstraZeneca vaccine, manufactured at its US plant, to Mexico and Canada.

Report by Shubam Kalia and Vishal Vivek in Bengaluru; Additional message from Steve Holland in Washington; Edited by David Gregorio and William Mallard

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