U.S. halts AstraZeneca’s Covid-19 vaccine production at Baltimore plant

U.S. ousts Astra from factory, puts J&J in charge

The development, first reported by the New York Times, further hampers AstraZeneca's efforts in the United States.

The extraordinary move by the Department of Health and Human Services came just days after officials had learned that Emergent BioSolutions, a contract manufacturer that has been making both the Johnson & Johnson and the AstraZeneca vaccines, mixed up ingredients from the two, which led regulators to delay authorization of the plant's production lines. None of the now available doses are affected by the situation, continuing to make them safe for human consumption.

Workers at the Emergent BioSolutions plant several weeks ago conflated ingredients for the J&J and AstraZeneca vaccines, the Times said earlier in the week. Instead, the batch was disposed of. "Importantly, the quality control systems worked as created to detect and isolate this single batch".

An FDA investigator last April discovered improper training, record keeping, testing procedures and more at Emergent BioSolution's Baltimore Bayview facility, the Washington Post reports.

The Biden administration has facilitated for Johnson & Johnson to assume "full responsibility" of a production plant after a mishap botched likely millions of doses-worth of COVID-19 vaccine.

Johnson & Johnson self-reported the incident to federal officials, with both parties investigating how it happened.

"There are rigorous quality checks throughout our vaccine manufacturing processes, and through these checks a single batch of drug substance was identified that did not meet specifications and our rigorous quality standards", an Emergent statement said. Last month, a batch of Johnson & Johnson "drug product " failed quality control and was taken out of production, both J&J and Emergent have said.

The Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines have already started trials with minors. According to data from the Centers for Disease Control, over 99.5 million Americans have received at least one vaccine dose.

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