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The Emergent BioSolutions plant in Baltimore in April 2021. Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images

Emergent BioSolutions announced Thursday that the Food and Drug Administration is allowing its Baltimore plant to resume manufacturing materials for vaccines after it was shutdown in April due to contamination problems.

Why it matters: The plant, which had been producing vaccine materials for Johnson & Johnson and AstraZeneca, conflated ingredients between the two different types of vaccines last year and destroyed 15 million doses of J&J's vaccine.

  • The FDA launched an inspection of the plant and found unsanitary conditions near sensitive manufacturing areas, including peeling paint, waste that was not decontaminated and workers mishandling medical waste.

What they're saying: Emergent said Thursday that it addressed the contamination issues revealed through the inspection in coordination with J&J and FDA.

  • “The American people should have high expectations of the partners its government chooses to help prepare them for disaster, and we have even higher expectations of ourselves,” Emergent CEO Robert Kramer said in a statement.
  • “We have fallen short of those lofty ambitions over the past few months but resumption of manufacturing is a key milestone, and we are grateful for the opportunity to help bring this global pandemic to an end," he added.

The big picture: The error and the unsanitary conditions halted the potential production and shipment of tens of millions of J&J doses and prevented the company from distributing its vaccine in multiple countries.

  • The European Union, Canada and South Africa withheld J&J vaccines produced at the plant for several days this year to conduct safety testing.

Go deeper

Updated Sep 24, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Vaccines: CDC director maintains Pfizer booster recommendation for high-risk workers — CDC director approves Pfizer boosters, adds eligibility for high-risk workers — FDA approves Pfizer boosters for high-risk individuals, people 65 and up.
  2. Health: America's mismatched COVID fears — Some experts see signs of hope as cases fall — WHO: Nearly 1 in 4 Afghan COVID hospitals shut after Taliban takeover — D.C. goes further than area counties with vaccine mandates.
  3. Politics: Bolsonaro isolating after health minister tests positive at UN summit — United Airlines says 97% of U.S. employees fully vaccinated — Mormon Church to mandate masks in temples.
  4. Education: Health care workers and teachers caught up in booster confusion — Asymptomatic Florida students exposed to COVID no longer have to quarantine — Education Department investigating Texas mask mandate ban.
  5. Variant tracker: Where different strains are spreading.

White House says it expects federal contractors to be vaccinated by Dec. 8

Photo: Stefani Reynolds/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The White House said in new guidance Friday that it expects millions of federal contractors to be vaccinated against the coronavirus no later than Dec. 8.

Why it matters: Companies with federal contractors have been waiting for formal guidance from the White House before requiring those employees to get vaccinated, according to Reuters.

Sep 25, 2021 - Health

Federal judge upholds Cincinnati health care system's COVID vaccine mandate

Photo: Jason Armond/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

A federal judge ruled Friday that a health care provider serving the Northern Kentucky and Greater Cincinnati region can issue mandates requiring its more than 10,000 employees to get vaccinated or risk termination.

Why it matters: It's the latest ruling to uphold U.S. private employers' right to issue vaccine mandates, and comes after President Biden signed an executive order requiring vaccinations or once-a-week testing for companies with more than 100 employees.