Employees work in a laboratory at Emergent Biosolutions in Baltimore, Maryland on February 8, 2021.
Photo by Michael Robinson Chavez / The Washington Post via Getty Images
The United States hired Johnson and Johnson to run a facility that ruined 15 million doses of their COVID-19 vaccine and prevented UK drug maker AstraZeneca from using the facility, a senior health official said Saturday.
J&J said it took “full responsibility” for the Emergent BioSolutions facility in Baltimore and reiterated that it would deliver 100 million cans to the government by the end of May.
The Department of Health and Human Services facilitated the move, emailed the health officer asking not to be named due to the sensitivity of the matter.
AstraZeneca, whose vaccine has not been approved in the US, said it will work with President Joe Biden’s administration to find an alternative location to manufacture its vaccine.
White House officials did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The development, first reported by the New York Times, continues to hamper AstraZeneca’s efforts in the United States. The government has criticized the drug company for using outdated data in the results of its vaccine study. It later revised its study.
The employees at the Emergent BioSolutions plant merged the ingredients for the J&J and AstraZeneca vaccines a few weeks ago, the Times said earlier this week. J&J said at the time that the destroyed batch had not yet reached the filling and final stages.
The government’s move to let the facility manufacture only the J&J single-dose vaccine is intended to avoid future confusion, the Times said, citing two senior federal health officials.
The leading U.S. infectious disease doctor told Reuters Thursday that the country may not need AstraZeneca’s vaccine even if it gets approved.
The United States has loan agreements to send Mexico and Canada around 4 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine, which was made at their US facility.