An ingredient mix-up at a Baltimore manufacturing plant ruined 15 million doses of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine, The New York Times reported. That could delay future shipments of this vaccine in the United States.
Workers at the plant in Baltimore, Maryland, run by Emergent BioSolutions, “conflated” ingredients of the vaccine, the US daily reported. Federal officials attributed the mistake to “human error”.
The Times said the problem would not affect doses already being delivered across the US but would cause delays for tens of millions of doses of the vaccine that were meant to come from the Baltimore plant in the coming months.
On the other hand, Johnson & Johnson said its “quality control process identified one batch of drug substance that did not meet quality standards” at the Emergent BioSolutions facility,” but did not say how many doses of its single-dose vaccine were ruined.
“This batch was never advanced to the filling and finishing stages of our manufacturing process,” Johnson & Johnson said, adding that the issue was addressed with Emergent BioSolutions and the US Food & Drug Administration (FDA).
On February 27, Johnson & Johnson announced that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) for its single-dose COVID-19 vaccine, developed by the Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson, to prevent COVID-19 in individuals 18 years of age and older.
“We believe the Johnson & Johnson single-shot COVID-19 vaccine is a critical tool for fighting this global pandemic, particularly as it shows protection across countries with different variants. A vaccine that protects against COVID-19, especially against the severe outcomes of hospitalization and death, will help ease the burden on people and the strain on health systems worldwide,” said Paul Stoffels, M.D., Vice Chairman of the Executive Committee and Chief Scientific Officer, Johnson & Johnson.
But limited availability of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine could still hurt US efforts to vaccinate enough people for herd immunity. People who are reluctant to get vaccinated against COVID-19 and say they will “wait and see” are more likely to agree to take the Johnson & Johnson vaccine than the Pfizer/BioNTech or Moderna shots.
The Johnson & Johnson vaccine only takes one dose, and is made using a more familiar technique, around 30 percent of the US population has received at least one dose of this vaccine so far.