Around 15 million doses of Johnson & Johnson’s (J&J) COVID-19 vaccine have gone to waste after workers at a plant in Baltimore, Maryland, which is simultaneously manufacturing two coronavirus vaccines, accidentally conflated the ingredients of J&J’s vaccine with that of another vaccine several weeks ago.
Emergent BioSolutions, a manufacturing partner of both J&J and AstraZeneca, the UK-based company whose vaccine has not yet received approval from the US regulators, owns the Baltimore plant.
Last year, Trump’s administration had granted $628 million to Emergent BioSolutions to expand its vaccine manufacturing capacity.
Emergent BioSolutions’ Baltimore plant was still awaiting the US Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) approval for its J&J vaccine production lines when the mix-up occurred and this enormous mistake is expected to delay it further.
According to a statement by J&J, 15 million doses of its single-dose COVID-19 vaccine have been declared unfit for human use after they failed to meet the required quality standards.
The human error does not affect any of the J&J’s COVID-19 vaccine doses that have already been rolled out because those were manufactured in a plant located in the Netherlands.
J&J had pledged to deliver 24 million doses of its COVID-19 vaccine in April and all of these doses were supposed to be produced at the Baltimore plant. However, the delivery of all 24 million doses has been delayed as the company continues to address quality control issues.
J&J has reiterated that none of the mixed-up doses ever left the plant and the entire lot of 15 million doses has been safely disposed of.