Apr 22, 2021 - Health

Johnson & Johnson's vaccine production problems look even bigger

Illustration of a syringe with an asterisk
Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

U.S. production of Johnson & Johnson's coronavirus vaccine may be in big trouble, at least for now.

Why it matters: The U.S. likely has enough other vaccines to give a shot to every adult who wants one. But much of the rest of the world is desperate for vaccines, and manufacturing setbacks could impact the timing and amount of doses the U.S. can export.

Driving the news: The Baltimore Emergent BioSolutions manufacturing plant that ruined 15 million doses of the J&J vaccine had multiple procedural failures, including unsanitary conditions near sensitive manufacturing areas, per an FDA report released yesterday.

  • Workers at the plant, which had been producing vaccine materials for J&J and AstraZeneca, conflated ingredients between the two different types of vaccines, Axios' Jacob Knutson writes.

Between the lines: Some of the problems cited by the FDA, like unsanitary conditions and quality control problems, shouldn't take very long to fix, Politico reports.

  • But others — like the agency's concerns about the size and design of Emergent's manufacturing facilities  will be harder to remedy quickly.

What they're saying: Emergent told the Washington Post that it was working to correct problems identified in the inspection report.

  • J&J announced that it's creating a "global vaccine supply network" that includes its plant in the Netherlands as well as 10 additional manufacturing sites.
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