Johnson and Johnson’s corona virus vaccine hits another snag in production

Washington, April 20 2021: The Emergent BioSolutions plant in Baltimore, Maryland has been asked by the US Food and Drug Administration to halt the production of the Johnson and Johnson corona virus vaccine.

The plant had previously been responsible for producing a batch of vaccine that according to Johnson and Johnson did not comply with quality standards and consequently production was halted after 15 million doses of the vaccine were ruined.

In regulatory proceedings by the Securities and Exchange Commission on Monday, the company Emergent BioSolutions said the FDA had requested a pause on April 16 in production of and quarantine of existing doses of the single-shot vaccine while the authorities led an inspection and remediation at the Bayview Baltimore facility.

The pharmaceutical giant Johnson & Johnson made a statement in March saying they would send more experts to the plant in question to oversee production and that the expected output would be 24 million doses in April. At the time however, Emergent BioSolutions plant had not been authorized by US regulators to manufacture the J&J vaccine, but local US media said the company would produce tens of millions of vaccine doses in the future.

The Johnson and Johnson shot initially won recognition and praise since it came in a single dose and did not require constant freezing unlike the existing Pfizer and Moderna options. This meant distribution and roll out would be simpler. But the vaccine has since hit many snags.

The use of the vaccine was temporarily halted last week after its use was linked to the incidence of blood clots in some women and low platelet count. One death two weeks after getting the shot was also reported. This current manufacturing pause is another setback for the vaccine in the United States.

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