J&J Is Pausing COVID Vaccine Production

Move is said to be temporary, but some are raising concerns
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 9, 2022 12:44 AM CST
Updated Feb 9, 2022 6:54 AM CST
Johnson & Johnson Is Pausing COVID Vaccine Production
A woman receives the Johnson & Johnson's Janssen COVID-19 vaccine at vaccination center located inside the National Theater in Prague, Czech Republic, on Nov. 11, 2021.   (AP Photo/Petr David Josek, File)

The only Johnson & Johnson plant that had been making usable batches of the company's COVID-19 vaccine is no longer producing it, a move that could reduce the global supply of the vaccine by a few hundred million doses, sources tell the New York Times. J&J quietly made the move late last year, switching the Netherlands facility to producing an experimental vaccine for another virus that may end up more profitable, sources say. A spokesperson for J&J says the company has millions of finished doses in its inventory, and is still "focused on ensuring our vaccine is available where people are in need."

The African Union and Covax, which gets vaccines to poor countries, were said to be blindsided by J&J's move, and expressed concerns about the pause—which is planned to last only a few months—considering the single-dose shot, which does not require ultracold refrigeration, is preferred in much of the developing world, where the need for vaccines is still great. The Times says J&J had "already fallen far behind on its deliveries to poorer countries," but the company rep insists J&J's global production network "is working day and night" battling the COVID pandemic and that batches of the vaccines are still being delivered to bottling and packaging facilities. Other facilities have also been hired to produce the vaccine, but it's not clear when they might start. Much more at the Times. (More Johnson & Johnson stories.)

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