By Paul Vieira
OTTAWA–Canada said late Friday it would discard 300,000 doses of Johnson & Johnson’s Covid-19 vaccine it received in April, saying health authorities were unable to determine whether the shipment met safety standards.
Canada halted distribution of the doses after learning the doses included a substance produced at a Emergent BioSolutions Inc. plant in Baltimore — a factory beset by contamination problems. In April, Canada’s health department said the J&J doses would undergo a safety assessment before they were released for use.
In a Friday evening statement, Canada said the health regulator was unable to issue a decision on the doses, without elaborating. Further, it said it would no longer accept Covid-19 vaccine doses made at Emergent’s Baltimore factory, nor would it accept vaccine doses with ingredients produced at the plant.
“To ensure the safety of any future vaccine supply from this facility, Health Canada is planning an onsite inspection, expected to take place this summer,” the statement said. A government representative did not immediately respond to further questions.
A spokesperson at Emergent wasn’t immediately available for comment about Canada’s statement.
Earlier Friday, Gaithersburg, Md.-based Emergent said the Food and Drug Administration determined that two batches of J&J’s vaccine made at the Baltimore plant were suitable for use. The FDA also said that it wasn’t yet ready to designate the plant as an authorized manufacturing facility, and “continues to work through issues there” with J&J and Emergent.
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