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Johnson & Johnson to oversee plant that ruined millions of COVID-19 doses

Johnson & Johnson to oversee plant that ruined millions of COVID-19 doses
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Drugmaker Johnson & Johnson will assume direct oversight responsibilities for an Emergent BioSolutions facility in Baltimore, Md. that was blamed for ruining as many as 15 million COVID-19 vaccine doses last week.

Reuters reported that a Johnson & Johnson official confirmed the change, which they said was facilitated by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). The Hill has reached out to HHS for comment.

The company also reiterated to Reuters that it plans to fulfill its commitment to produce and ship 100 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines by the end of May.

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The decision by HHS represents a snub to fellow drugmaker AstraZeneca, which is also partnered with Emergent BioSolutions and was reportedly considering the facility to manufacture its own COVID-19 vaccine.

Emergent BioSolutions came under fire after Johnson & Johnson blamed it for ruining a batch of vaccines manufactured while the site's authorization with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) was still pending.

The New York Times reported that workers conflated two ingredients in the vaccines, potentially contaminating up to 15 million doses.

In a statement last Wednesday, Johnson & Johnson explained that the mix-up was caught after 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.