COVID-19: 15 million doses of J & J’s vaccine wasted by mistake in a US factory

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Some 15 million doses of Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccine were mistakenly wasted at a US plant in Baltimore, which could threaten supply delays to the United States, the New York Times said on Wednesday.

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Several weeks ago, employees of this huge factory managed by the partner company Emergent BioSolutions confused the ingredients necessary for the preparation of the vaccine, according to the daily.

Contacted by AFP, Johnson & Johnson did not confirm the number of 15 million, but said that quality checks carried out on site had “identified a batch of drug substance not meeting the quality standards at Emergent BioSolutions , a site that is not yet authorized to manufacture a drug substance for our vaccine against COVID-19 ”.

“This batch has never been sent to the filling and finishing stages of our manufacturing process,” J&J added in a statement.

The US Drugs Agency (FDA) has been made aware, and “additional experts” have been dispatched to oversee operations, according to the company.

“In coordination with the US Department of Health, these measures will allow us to safely deliver 24 million doses of vaccine during the month of April,” said Johnson & Johnson.

The New York Times specifies that the doses of this vaccine currently delivered to the United States are not affected, as they come from the Netherlands. But future deliveries were to come from this Baltimore plant, whose production authorization is now delayed, adds the daily.

J & J’s vaccine is administered as a single injection; 15 million doses are therefore equivalent to 15 million people vaccinated.

The United States is counting on this vaccine to speed up its vaccination campaign, which has been carried out with great speed. They ordered 100 million doses of this remedy, authorized in emergency at the end of February in the country – after the vaccines of Pfizer / BioNTech and Moderna.

20 million doses of Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine have already been distributed in March in the United States, according to the company, in accordance with the targets that had been set.

US President Joe Biden announced in early March that he wanted the United States to double its order from the company, buying 100 million doses in addition to the 100 million that are already the subject of a contract.