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According to the New York Times, the error occurred a few weeks ago at a plant in Baltimore that produces vaccines from both Johnson & Johnson and AstraZeneca.
Employees at the factory Emergent BioSolutions are said to have made a mistake and mixed ingredients from the two different vaccines. Thus, 15 million doses from Johnson & Johnson were destroyed.
The two vaccines use the same method, where a harmless version of the virus is transmitted to cells in a protein that stimulates the immune system to produce antibodies. However, they have several biological differences and cannot be mixed.
According to the New York Times, the error was not discovered until Johnson & Johnson quality assured the vaccines. None of the vaccines left the factory.
The human failure means that production is put on hold until the US Food and Drug Administration FDA has investigated the matter.
Johnson & Johnson vaccines that have already been used or distributed in the United States are manufactured in the Netherlands and thus not affected.
But all future deliveries from the company, an estimated 24 million doses during April, were scheduled to be produced at the Baltimore plant.
Authorities still expect to have enough vaccines from Johnson & Johnson, Moderna and Pfizer to reach President Joe Biden’s goal of offering vaccines to all adult Americans by the end of May.
The Johnson & Johnson vaccine requires only one dose.
Approved in Norway
Johnson & Johnson has already been hit by delays, but has delivered 20 million doses. They have also committed to deliver an additional 75 million doses by the end of May.
The vaccine was approved in the EU on 11 March. It was the fourth approved vaccine after Pfizer, Moderna and AstraZeneca.
The Johnson & Johnson vaccine is also approved for use in Norway, but the Norwegian health authorities have not received any information about the time of delivery.
They have initially committed to deliver 200 million doses to the EU by 2021.
The first deliveries were expected in April, and Norway was scheduled to receive 900,000 doses.
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