Stephen Zenner/Getty Images
About 60 million doses of Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccine that were produced at a troubled factory in Baltimore will have to be thrown out, the FDA has reportedly concluded.
The Food and Drug Administration has decided that these tens of millions of vaccine doses that were produced at a factory operated by Emergent BioSolutions must be thrown out due to possible contamination, The New York Times reports. The FDA will, however, reportedly allow 10 million vaccine doses to still be distributed with warning labels noting that regulators can’t guarantee that Emergent “followed good manufacturing practices,” the Times reports.
It was reported in March that vaccine doses had been spoiled at a Baltimore plant after workers mistakenly mixed up ingredients. Production at the plant was subsequently paused, and the FDA had been reviewing the situation for weeks. Inspectors who were sent in reported “unsanitary conditions, poorly trained employees and other problems” at the factory, The Associated Press reports.
The Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine comes with the benefit of only requiring one dose, and while the Times notes that the U.S. has sufficient supply of the Pfizer and Moderna two-dose vaccines, 60 million Johnson & Johnson doses being unusable “puts a dent in the Biden administration’s plan to distribute vaccines to other countries that are still in the grip of the pandemic.”
A decision about whether the company can reopen the plant reportedly isn’t expected to be made until later in the month.