Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine batch fails quality check as Mass. awaits shipment

BOSTON (WHDH) - Johnson & Johnson confirmed that a batch of its COVID-19 vaccine was ruined at a Maryland manufacturing plant just hours after Gov. Charlie Baker announced that Massachusetts would be getting a large shipment of the vaccine next week.

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 in a statement Wednesday.

The drug maker did not say how many doses were lost but the New York Times reported as many as 15 million potential doses of the vaccine were ruined.

Baker had announced earlier in the day that the Bay State is expected to get more than 100,000 Johnson and Johnson vaccine doses next week as 10 million get shipped nationwide.

“That’s a big deal,” he said. “We have heard many times that it’s coming, that it’s coming. This is a big sign that things are actually starting to get here.”

The state’s COVID-19 Response Command Center released a statement that they hadn’t heard of any delay in shipment following the incident at the Maryland manufacturing plant.

“At this time, the Administration has not received any notice of delay in shipment of J&J vaccine to the Commonwealth from the federal government, and this week received 383,000 doses as part of the state allocation from the federal government of Moderna, Pfizer and J&J doses,” the statement read. “This news does not impact current appointments or allocations for any sites statewide and we remain prepared to work collaboratively with the federal government to avoid any disruption in vaccine shipments.”

Baker has called the Johnson & Johnson single-dose shot a game changer as more Mass. residents become eligible to get vaccinated.

“Thank God Pfizer and Moderna were there when they were there, but the difference between two doses and one dose is not just convenience, it’s also capacity,” he said. “If you think about all the people who you can serve with one dose and not have to schedule a second dose and take up a second seat at some point later on, it basically doubles the amount of capacity that’s available, and in addition to that, the speed at which somebody becomes fully vaccinated.”

About 1.3 million Mass. residents are fully vaccinated.

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