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Johnson & Johnson halts some vaccine production

Johnson & Johnson has reported that production of 15 million vaccines has been halted at a Maryland manufacturing facility due to quality concerns as a mix-up of ingredients of one production run occurred. The news that broke Wednesday night. None of the vaccine already delivered to states is impacted – this was an error in one manufacturing plant, during the manufacturing of doses set to be delivered later in April.

The U.S. expects to have enough vaccines to immunize all adults by the end of May, even without the anticipated J&J doses. This mix-up will not impact any of the J&J vaccines already being delivered and used across the country. It is not expected to impact Rhode Island or Massachusetts vaccine supply.

The company released this statement Wednesday night:

Johnson & Johnson Statement on U.S. COVID-19 Vaccine Manufacturing New Brunswick, NJ (March 31, 2021) – Since January of 2020, Johnson & Johnson has been working directly with governments, health authorities and other companies to help end the global pandemic. We continue to expect to deliver our COVID-19 vaccine at a rate of more than one billion doses by the end of 2021.

We are pleased we have met our commitment to deliver enough single-shot vaccines by the end of March to enable the full vaccination of more than 20 million people in the United States. This is part of our plan to deliver 100 million single-shot vaccines to the U.S. during the first half of 2021, aiming to deliver those doses by the end of May.

As with the manufacturing of any complex biologic medication or vaccine, the start-up for a new process includes test runs and quality checks to ensure manufacturing is validated and the end product meets our high-quality standards. This approach includes having dedicated specialists on the ground at the companies that are part of our global manufacturing network to support safety and quality.

This 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.

This is an example of the rigorous quality control applied to each batch of drug substance. The issue was identified and addressed with Emergent and shared with the United States Food & Drug Administration (FDA).

Quality and safety continue to be our top priority. Therefore, as we continue to work with FDA and Emergent toward the Emergency Use Authorization of the Emergent Bayview Facility, Johnson & Johnson is providing additional experts in manufacturing, technical operations and quality to be on-site at Emergent to supervise, direct and support all manufacturing of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine. In coordination with the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, these steps will enable us to safely deliver an additional 24 million single-shot vaccine doses through April.

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