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The United States puts J&J at the forefront of the plant that damaged the COVID vaccine and removes AstraZeneca

(Reuters) – The United States has put Johnson and Johnson at the helm of a plant that destroyed 15 million doses of its COVID-19 vaccine and stopped British drugmaker AstraZeneca Plc from using the facility, a senior health official said on Saturday.

FILE PHOTO: AstraZeneca Coronavirus Vaccine Vial (COVID-19) pictured in Berlin, Germany, March 16, 2021. REUTERS / Hannibal Hanschke / File Photo

J&J said it was “taking full responsibility”

; for the Emergent BioSolutions facility in Baltimore, reiterating that it would deliver 100 million doses to the government by the end of May.

The Ministry of Health and Humanitarian Services facilitated the relocation, the health official said in an email asking not to be named due to the sensitivity of the issue.

AstraZeneca, whose vaccine has not been approved in the United States, said it would work with President Joe Biden’s administration to find an alternative site to produce its vaccine.

White House officials did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The development, first reported by the New York Times, further hampers AstraZeneca’s efforts in the United States. The government has criticized the drug maker for using outdated data in vaccine test results. He later revised his study.

Workers at the Emergent BioSolutions plant mixed ingredients for the J&J and AstraZeneca vaccines a few weeks ago, the Times reported earlier this week. J&J stated that at that time the destroyed batch had not moved to the filling and completion stage.

The government’s move to make the facility a single-dose J&J vaccine is intended to avoid future confusion, the Times said, citing two senior federal health officials.

America’s top infectious disease doctor told Reuters on Thursday that the country may not need the AstraZeneca vaccine, even if it wins approval.

The United States has loan agreements to send to Mexico and Canada about 4 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine made at the US facility.

Report by Shubam Kaliya and Vishal Vivek in Bengaluru; Additional reporting by Steve Holland in Washington; Edited by David Gregorio and William Mallard

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