Johnson & Johnson delays some vaccine shipments after factory mixup ruined 15 million doses, report says

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A batch of Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccine failed quality standards and can’t be used, the drug giant said late Wednesday.

“Workers at a Baltimore plant manufacturing two coronavirus vaccines accidentally conflated the vaccines’ ingredients several weeks ago, ruining about 15 million doses of Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine and forcing regulators to delay authorization of the plant’s production lines,” the New York Times reported

A vaccine ingredient made by Emergent BioSolutions — one of about 10 companies that Johnson & Johnson is using to speed up manufacturing of its recently approved vaccine — did not meet quality standards, J&J said.

J&J said the Emergent BioSolutions factory involved had not yet been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to make part of the vaccine.

Johnson & Johnson doses currently being distributed and used nationwide weren’t affected.

In other developments:

  • Americans are broadly supportive of President Joe Biden’s early handling of the coronavirus pandemic, and approval of his stewardship of the economy has ticked up following passage of a sprawling $1.9 trillion relief bill, according to a new poll from The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research.
  • A new report says U.S. deaths last year topped 3.3 million, the nation’s highest annual death toll. That includes about 375,000 deaths from the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • The European Medicines Agency says there is “no evidence” that would support restricting use of AstraZeneca’s coronavirus vaccine in any population despite reports of rare blood clots associated with the shot. Here’s what’s known about the clots that have been reported.
  • Pfizer announced Wednesday that its COVID-19 vaccine is safe and strongly protective in kids as young as 12, a step toward possibly beginning shots in this age group before they head back to school in the fall.
  • French President Emmanuel Macron has announced a three-week nationwide school closure and a month-long domestic travel ban in an effort to fight the rapid spread of the virus. Though cases are also surging in Greece, the country announced it’s relaxing some restrictions, including allowing stores to reopen and people to travel further from their homes.
  • The World Trade Organization is raising its estimate for the rebound in global trade in goods but warning that the COVID-19 pandemic still poses the greatest threat to a recovery that is being hampered by lagging vaccinations, regional disparities and weakness in the service industry.
  • Delta Air Lines, the last U.S. airline still blocking middle seats, will end that policy in May as air travel recovers and more people become vaccinated against COVID-19.
  • Industry experts say the cost of travel is likely to slowly rebound from historic lows  as more travelers receive COVID-19 vaccinations and book long-deferred trips.
  • The NFL has plans to eliminate some restrictions from its current COVID-19 protocols for vaccinated players, coaches and personnel.

For more summaries and full reports, select from the articles below. Scroll further for trending questions and the latest virus numbers.