Company says it should still be on track to deliver 24 million vaccine doses through April.
Johnson & Johnson has confirmed reports it identified a batch of COVID-19 vaccines that didn't meet its quality standards and as a result destroyed them. The batch hadn't yet advanced to the filling and finishing stages, but the company said it's evidence of how rigorous its quality control is.
"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," Johnson & Johnson said Wednesday. "The issue was identified and addressed with Emergent and shared with the United States Food & Drug Administration (FDA)."
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Johnson & Johnson's comments follow a report earlier Wednesday by The New York Times saying around 15 million doses had been accidentally ruined by human error after workers in the facility mixed ingredients incorrectly, with shipments of the vaccine delayed as a result.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, the president's chief medical adviser and director of NIAID, said Thursday the good news is the checks and balances on vaccine safety are working.
"Human errors do happen," Fauci told CBS This Morning. "It's really quite unfortunate that about 15 million doses now are not going to be able to be used, but you do have checks and balances, and you see that."
Johnson & Johnson will provide Emergent Biosolutions' Bayview Facility with more experts in manufacturing, technical operations and quality to supervise and direct the manufacturing of the vaccine. The facility hasn't yet produced any of Johnson & Johnson's coronavirus vaccine currently being distributed in the US.
"In coordination with the US Department of Health & Human Services, these steps will enable us to safely deliver an additional 24 million single-shot vaccine doses through April," Johnson & Johnson said, adding it aims to deliver 100 million single-shot vaccines by the end of May.
President Joe Biden on Tuesday announced 90% of adults will be eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine by April 19, and that the majority of Americans will have a vaccination site within five miles of their home. Biden had previously said all adults in the US should be eligible for a vaccine by May 1.
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