Production plant questions millions of vaccines, as US promises to send them overseas



  • Emergent BioSolutions in Baltimore ruined at least 15 million Johnson & Johnson vaccines earlier this year.
  • 100 million AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson vaccines from the facility are undergoing safety review.
  • The United States scrambles to send vaccines from other manufacturers abroad, The New York Times reported.
  • See more stories on the Insider business page.

The United States is working to replace vaccines intended to be sent to other countries after problems at a production plant ruined the AstraZeneca shots promised by the Biden administration, The New York Times reported.

More than 100 million AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson vaccines manufactured at Emergent BioSolutions in Baltimore are being reviewed to see if they are safe to use after several problems at the plant. If, after verification by the Food and Drug Administration, the injections are found to be safe, they will be shipped overseas.

In April, Biden pledged 60 million vaccines from AstraZeneca, all he had produced at the time, then added 20 million vaccines from other manufacturers in May. Overall, the administration said it would share 80 million doses by the end of June.

Last week, the Biden administration also pledged to share 500 million doses of the Pfizer vaccine.

Sources familiar with the shipping talks told The Times officials were working to replace the tens of millions of shots from AstraZeneca that were part of the donation with others from Pfizer and BioNTech, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson. Although they may need the manufacturers’ permission, the Times notes.

AstraZeneca is currently not authorized for use in the United States because the company has not requested an emergency clearance. The plans from Pfizer and BioNTech, Johnson & Johnson and Moderna all have emergency clearance in the United States.

Over 176 million people in the United States have already received at least one dose, which is over 53% of the total population, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Emergent BioSolutions also ruined at least 15 million doses of Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccine earlier this year, due to human error when employees mixed ingredients for the J&J and AstraZeneca vaccines.

In addition, the plant experienced several “systemic failures”, including one fda report however, some of the factory staff did not shower or change their clothes, which could have contaminated the doses of J&J.

Emergent BioSolutions did not respond to Insider’s request for comment at time of posting.

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