After an 11-day pause due to concerns over rare but fatal blood clots, health regulators in the US have once again cleared the Johnson & Johnson Covid-19 vaccine. The move, confirmed by a 10-4 panel vote by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) two days ago, immediately cleared the way for at least 10 million doses to be administered across the US.
Health regulators in Europe also ended restrictions on the jab across the continent.
However, the beleaguered Baltimore plant where J&J’s vaccine was being produced needs to fix a long list of problems in order to resume operation.
A report by the US Food & Drug Administration (FDA) listed peeling paint and unsanitary conditions as among the problems found at the plant, which is owned by Emergent Biosolutions Inc.
According to the Canandian news website, CTV, FDA’s report documented dirty facilities and workers who carried trash close to manufacturing areas. Moreover, the report adds, problems were not investigated, cleanups were superficial, and the facility was overcrowded.
“Paint flecks were observed on the floor all along the sides of these walls,” on corridors surrounding the manufacturing room, it said in one section, adding that there was “brown residue” on the wall and “black residue” on the floor in one plant room, the report stated, per CTV.
It’s unclear for how long the Baltimore plant will be offline. Meanwhile, J&J’s own plant in the Netherlands is supplying doses of the single-shot jab for the United States and other countries around the world.
The Baltimore plant also produced the beleaguered AstraZeneca vaccine, which is not authorized for emergency use in the United States. According to the FDA report, behavior by personnel at the plant led to the cross contamination of the J&J and AstraZeneca Covid vaccines.
Employees at the plant are accused of carrying unsealed bags of medical waste in the facility, bringing them in contact with containers of material used in manufacturing, the scathing report added.
Like J&J’s Covid vaccine, AstraZeneca’s shot is linked to rare but deadly blood clots.