US puts J&J in charge of plant that ruined batch of vaccines and sets aside AstraZeneca

By Shubham Kalia

Apr 4 (Reuters) – The United States put Johnson and Johnson in charge of a plant that ruined 15 million doses of its COVID-19 vaccine and prevented British drugmaker AstraZeneca Plc from using the facility, a senior official said on Saturday. of health.

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

The Department of Health and Human Services facilitated the change, the health official said in an email, in which he asked that his name not be mentioned due to the sensitivity of the matter.

AstraZeneca, whose vaccine has not been approved in the United States, said it will work with the administration of President Joe Biden to find an alternative location to produce its vaccine.

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

Workers at the Emergent BioSolutions plant mixed up the ingredients in the J&J and AstraZeneca vaccines several weeks ago, the Times reported earlier in the week.

J&J then said that the spoiled batch had not advanced to the fill and finish phase.

The government’s move to have the facilities manufacture only J & J’s single-dose vaccine is intended to avoid future confusion, the New York Times said, citing two top federal health officials.

America’s top infectious disease doctor told Reuters on Thursday that the country might not need the AstraZeneca vaccine, even if it gets approval.

The United States has agreements to ship to Mexico and Canada about 4 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine, manufactured at its US facilities.

(Reporting by Shubham Kalia and Vishal Vivek in Bengaluru .; Additional reporting by Steve Holland in Washington; Edited in Spanish by Javier López de Lérida)