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What do we know about the 15 million doses wasted by mistake?

Last week we reported an incredible mistake at a Baltimore plant that led to the loss of 15 million doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. Information disclosed by the New York Times which is now pushing your research forward and sheds light on very limited methods. Something to worry about for other doses of vaccine.

“Emergent” is a company specialized in the production of vaccines. At its Baltimore plant, it manufactures vaccines for Johnson & Johnson and AstraZeneca – the technologies are similar, through a viral vector that once in our body will attack the virus. In February, employees unknowingly infected the Johnson & Johnson viral vector with AstraZeneca’s.

The mistake was made during one of the last pre-market checks: Johnson & Johnson samples a batch of 13 to 15 million doses of vaccine to check its purity. What the New York newspaper reveals most today is that between October and January, Emergent would have discarded five lots of AstraZeneca vaccines (between 10 and 15 million doses) due to another suspected contamination.

Multiple bugs in recent months

In addition, in November, production of a batch of Johnson & Johnson vaccines was also suspended: workers allegedly “plugged in” the wrong gas line and accidentally “drowned” the vaccine virus cells. What is worrisome are the multiple infractions and the chain of errors in recent months.

According to internal reports, Emergent has chained the gaps in disinfection and pollution prevention efforts. For example, a persistent mold problem in the factory, or Mold can contaminate the substance of a vaccine through the air.. There would also be problems with employee training.

Due to the epidemic, visits were made by video and Emergent workers controlled the camera angles, so the controls were not necessarily obvious. This is not a small company, Emergent has worked with the government for a long time and made vaccines against anthrax, for example.

What are the risks of the vaccination campaign?

At the beginning of the epidemic, the company was in a position of strength. In fact, not many of them were able to make the vaccines in the United States. As of June 2020, there have been questions about flu vaccine requirements. But the company still landed a $ 628 million contract to make the Covid-19 vaccines.

However, according to specialists, they were simply not prepared, and one of them has this analogy: “It’s like trying take the best champagne in France and recreate it in parts of the United States. You could bring the grapes, but it’s a science and an art. “

This case runs the risk of having consequences for vaccination policy in the United States, with mechanical delays: 15 million doses in the trash. The rest, Every batch of Johnson & Johnson vaccines produced at the factory must be tested., or 62 million doses in total, to ensure they don’t get contaminated as well. Additionally, an additional 70 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine will also need to be tested, even if the latter is not licensed by US health authorities.

The government has increased the number of contracts and therefore claims that this should not delay the vaccination policy. But the experts fear that this will affect the confidence of those who already suspected compared to the vaccine.

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