The White House says the United States will still have enough vaccines for all Americans by the end of next month, despite problems with a single batch of “medicine”, resulting in the loss of 15 million doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
“We are still on track to have the number of doses we need to vaccinate all adult Americans by the end of May,” said Psaki on Monday. “This was not even an FDA approved facility.”
She went on to say that the United States “was not betting on these doses” and that Johnson & Johnson “assured us that we will receive the 24 million doses they promised in April”.
Pressed by CNN’s Kaitlan Collins about whether the problems could increase the vaccine’s hesitation in the United States, Psaki replied, “we didn’t see that.”
“That’s why the FDA approval process is in place,” she said. “In many ways, the process was working, because the FDA did not approve the site. Measures have been taken to resolve some of the problems and we also have a number of contingency plans. ”
“When we all talk here about ‘why do we order so many doses, why are we at the point where we are sharing doses with all countries around the world?’ Part of that is because we need to plan for things to come. Things like that come up, ”she said.
“We have to plan a series of contingencies,” added Psaki. “This is one of the many reasons why we will still be in a place where we have enough vaccines for adult Americans by the end of May.”
Some background: As CNN previously reported, a source familiar with the Johnson & Johnson vaccine manufacturing process told CNN on Saturday that the loss was not a major setback.
Johnson & Johnson said that a single batch of “medicine” failed the quality control inspection and was discarded. The company’s vaccine currently being distributed in the United States is made at a factory in the Netherlands, but Emergent BioSolutions, a contract manufacturer, was producing doses at a facility in Baltimore. The factory was awaiting authorization from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration when the contamination problem was reported.
“Once the plant is up and running again, the way this particular vaccine is made in these large batches, compensating for that batch should not be a major setback. It must be a setback of just a few weeks, ”the source told CNN.
Emergent also manufactured a vaccine for AstraZeneca, whose vaccine has not yet been authorized in the USA Like the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, the AstraZeneca vaccine uses a virus to carry genetic material – the so-called viral vector.
Emergent and Johnson & Johnson said that quality control measures detected the problem. None of the vaccines that are being made at the factory have been dispatched to be put in bottles or distributed and the authorities emphasized that no one had been put at risk because of the contamination.
CNN said the company had been helping to produce Covid-19 vaccines for Johnson & Johnson and AstraZeneca for months, according to a source familiar with the situation.
In addition to the batch of 15 million doses that had to be discarded, Emergent has successfully produced 115 million doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, which are at various stages in the supply chain, the source said.
The source added that “it is not uncommon” for the pharmaceutical industry to have to discard batches of vaccine, and the fact that Emergent and J&J detected the contamination before any of the impacted doses sent “showed that the system worked”.