Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccine ran into a big setback in late March when U.S. officials paused the rollout to investigate rare blood clots. While that issue has been resolved with a new warning about the rare risk, the company’s shot is running into another type of pause—a lack of supply.
The federal government doesn’t plan to ship any J&J COVID-19 vaccine doses to states next week as production holdups linger at J&J’s manufacturing partner Emergent BioSciences, CDC weekly distribution data show.
Weeks ago, workers at Emergent’s plant in Baltimore ruined up to 15 million doses of the J&J shot, triggering a controversy for the contract manufacturer that ended up with J&J in charge of the key plant. Meanwhile, the feds and Emergent have halted production there as the contract manufacturer works through a laundry list of issues highlighted by FDA investigators during a recent site visit.
On top of that, lawmakers are now investigating Emergent’s production contracts and errors. The company’s top brass are set to testify in front of Congress next week.
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A J&J spokesman said the company continues to “partner closely with the U.S. government, including the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), along with other global health authorities, regarding the Emergent Bayview facility.”
Federal officials sent just 603,600 doses of the J&J shot to states and territories this week. Pfizer and Moderna doses are shipping out at about 10 million and 8 million per week, respectively.
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Despite the production woes, J&J last month said it was still confident it could deliver 100 million doses of the vaccine to the U.S. by the end of May. So far, CDC data show that about 20 million doses have been delivered to states, and about 9.3 million doses have been administered.
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