39°F
weather icon Clear
app-logo
RJ App
Vegas News, Alerts, ePaper

Source: Troubled factory to throw out many J&J vaccine doses

U.S. regulators are allowing for the release of 10 million doses of Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccine from a troubled Baltimore factory, but material to make many more must be thrown out because of possible contamination, a person familiar with the decision told The Associated Press on Friday.

The Food and Drug Administration announced that it had determined that two batches from the plant could be released. But it said several other batches are not suitable for use and additional batches are still under review.

A second person familiar with the decision confirmed that it would allow for 10 million doses to be released. Both people spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity because they weren’t authorized to release details about it.

The doses originated at an Emergent BioSolutions factory, known as Bayview, that is making the vaccine for J&J. Those doses would be the first from the factory approved for use. J&J doses that had been administered came from other plants.

Emergent is one of several contractors for J&J that produces its one-shot vaccine in bulk. The concentrated vaccine then is shipped to other factories for final steps, including diluting them to the correct strength, putting them in vials and packaging them up.

Roughly 100 million doses made from bulk vaccine produced at Emergent’s factory had been set aside for additional testing by FDA staff after factory employees accidentally contaminated a batch.

That contamination led the FDA to shut down the factory in mid-April and send in a team of inspectors. They spent a week going through the factory and reviewing security camera footage that showed employees carelessly handling vaccine materials. The inspectors reported unsanitary conditions, poorly trained employees and other problems.

The lapses have hampered J&J’s efforts to be a major player in vaccinating people, particularly in remote areas and poor countries, given that it’s the only drugmaker with an authorized vaccine that only requires one dose and standard refrigeration.

The problems forced J&J to import millions of doses from its factory in the Netherlands and to miss supply commitments.

Emergent’s factory had a history of FDA citations for problems including mold, dirty walls and floors, poorly trained employees and an inadequate strategy to prevent contamination, yet it was given a huge role in COVID-19 vaccine production by the Trump administration. Emergent was handed a lucrative contract to make many millions of COVID-19 vaccines for both J&J and AstraZeneca at the Bayview factory.

Emergent’s chief executive has blamed the contamination and other problems on the complexity of scaling up the factory in just months to make two different vaccines.

The Biden administration is working to find a different American manufacturing partner for the British drugmaker, which has yet to request authorization to distribute it in the U.S.

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.
THE LATEST
Police: Oregon torture suspect with ties to Nevada using dating apps

Authorities say a man accused of torturing a woman he held captive in Oregon and who was convicted in Nevada in a similar case is using dating apps to find people who can help him avoid the police.

Protests begin after brutal beating by Memphis police shown on video

The recordings shows police savagely beating the 29-year-old FedEx worker for three minutes while screaming profanities. The Nichols family legal team has likened the assault to the infamous 1991 police beating of Los Angeles motorist Rodney King.

Southwest’s holiday cancellations investigated by feds

The federal government is investigating whether Southwest Airlines knowingly scheduling more flights than it could handle in December, when it ended up canceling nearly 17,000 flights.

US to send 31 M1 Abrams battle tanks to Ukraine

The $400 million package announced Wednesday also includes eight M88 recovery vehicles — tank-like tracked vehicles that can tow the Abrams if it gets stuck.