Washington | “Several batches” of Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccine, manufactured at a Baltimore plant whose production had to be halted several weeks ago, will need to be discarded, US health officials said on Friday.
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According to the New York Times, this decision concerns some 60 million doses.
In March, control tests had already revealed that 15 million doses of Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine had been wasted in this plant managed by partner company Emergent BioSolutions.
In addition to the vaccine of “J&J”, it was then also manufactured that of AstraZeneca, and the products entering in the composition of the second had been mixed by mistake with the first, causing the contamination of these 15 million doses and making them unusable. . They never left the factory to be distributed, reassured the authorities at the time.
The American Medicines Agency (FDA) then dispatched experts to the site to conduct an inspection of the premises and the rest of the doses produced.
On Friday, the agency finally gave the green light to “two batches” of Johnson & Johnson vaccines manufactured at the plant, which can be used “in the United States or exported abroad.” This equates to 10 million doses, a source familiar with the matter told AFP.
In contrast, “the FDA has determined that several other lots cannot be used,” she said. According to the New York Times, that’s 60 million doses, for which the agency informed the company they should be discarded.
“Additional lots are still being examined,” the FDA said.
The production of the AstraZeneca remedy has been permanently withdrawn from this factory, and that of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine has been suspended there pending a decision by health authorities.
The FDA said Friday “not yet ready” to restart production there, and “continue to work on problems there” with officials from Johnson & Johnson and Emerging BioSolutions.
In addition, at least 60 million doses of AstraZeneca that had also been produced in this plant are still awaiting the green light from the FDA to be able to be sent abroad. The US executive has promised to donate these doses to underprivileged countries, as part of a total of 80 million doses to be distributed by the end of June, mostly via the Covax sharing device.