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Vials of Johnson & Johnson's coronavirus vaccine in Oakland, California, on March 26. Photo: Gabrielle Lurie/The San Francisco Chronicle via Getty Images

A Baltimore plant run by Emergent BioSolutions that produces coronavirus vaccines ruined a batch of Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine, according to a statement released by Johnson & Johnson Wednesday.

Why it matters: The plant, which was projected to produce and ship tens of millions of Johnson & Johnson doses next month, must now cease producing the one-dose vaccine while the Food and Drug Administration investigates the error, the New York Times first reported. Axios confirmed the report is accurate.

Context: Workers at the plant, which had been producing Johnson & Johnson and AstraZeneca vaccines, conflated the ingredients between the two different types of vaccines, destroying 15 million doses of Johnson & Johnson vaccine, according to the Times.

  • The error should not affect Johnson & Johnson doses currently being delivered and administered nationwide, as they were produced in the Netherlands.
  • The Emergent BioSolutions plant had not yet been authorized by the FDA to manufacture drug substance for Johnson & Johnson's vaccine, but an authorization application had been pending, according to Politico.

What they're saying: Johnson & Johnson said Wednesday that its "quality control process identified one batch of drug substance that did not meet quality standards at Emergent BioSolutions, a site not yet authorized to manufacture drug substance for our COVID-19 vaccine."

  • "This batch was never advanced to the filling and finishing stages of our manufacturing process," the company added.
  • Johnson & Johnson said it is sending manufacturing and quality control experts to the plant to oversee future production.

Thought bubble, via Axios' Caitlin Owens: The Times says the accident won't stop the U.S. from reaching President Biden's goal of having enough vaccine by the end of May for every adult, but in the global race against the virus, every dose counts.

Go deeper

Mar 31, 2021 - Health

Demand for vaccines is already waning in some parts of the country

Expand chart
Reproduced from U.S. Census Bureau; Chart: Axios Visuals

Some states are expanding vaccine eligibility partially because of a troubling reason: Not enough people want to get vaccinated.

What we're watching: Vaccine supplies are still limited, but they're already outpacing demand in some parts of the country, especially rural areas. And that could be a bad sign for the future.

Mar 31, 2021 - Health

Advocates warn: The clock is ticking on new variants

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Some experts say the world may only have a year or less to stave off a new round of COVID-19 variants that could evade the existing vaccines, according to survey conducted by advocates trying to speed up vaccinations in developing nations.

Why it matters: Variants emerge when viruses spread widely, so quickly vaccinating the entire world is the best way to curb new variants. But some experts are afraid we won't get there fast enough.

Updated 11 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Omicron dashboard

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

  1. Health: Fauci: "Confident" Omicron cases will peak in February.
  2. Vaccines: The shifting definition of fully vaccinated.
  3. Politics: New York Supreme Court strikes down Gov. Hochul's mask mandate for public areas — Sarah Palin tests positive for COVID, delaying defamation trial — Virginia school boards sue Gov. Youngkin for lifting mask mandate.
  4. World: U.K. to lift travel testing requirement for fully vaccinated — Beijing Olympic Committee lowers testing threshold ahead of Games.
  5. Variant tracker