Trump and Biden officials knew about quality-control problems at the Baltimore facility that ruined 15 million COVID-19 vaccine doses, report says

Sinéad Baker
·2 min read
johnson & johnson vaccine
A vial of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine. Michael Ciaglo/Getty Images
  • Senior Trump and Biden officials knew about issues at a Baltimore vaccine plant, per Politico.

  • Trump officials were reportedly given a report warning about the plant last June, and Biden officials later.

  • The plant cross-contaminated some 15 million doses of J&J's vaccine with AstraZeneca's in February.

  • See more stories on Insider's business page.

Senior officials in the Trump and Biden administrations knew for months that there were issues with the Baltimore plant that botched 15 million doses of Johnson & Johnson's COVID-19 vaccine, Politico reported.

Citing two people with direct knowledge of the issue and an internal report, Politico reported that a document detailing issues with the Emergent BioSolutions plant was sent to Trump officials working on vaccines in June 2020.

The report, produced by a government official, warned that the Emergent BioSolutions plant did not have enough staff who could properly oversee vaccine production, and that it had issues with hiring and retaining workers, Politico reported.

The report was later given to the Biden administration during the presidential transition, Politico said.

The Emergent BioSolutions plant had unknowingly cross-contaminated some 15 million doses of the J&J vaccine with AstraZeneca's earlier this year.

The New York Times reported on Tuesday that another 62 million doses of J&J's vaccine may also be contaminated. If they are contaminated, they can't be used.

The Associated Press also reported that the factory previously cited by the Food and Drug Administration for issues like mold and cracked vials.

Insider has contacted the White House and Emergent BioSolutions for comment.

The White House, Johnson & Johnson, and the Department of Health and Human Services have not responded to Politico's requests for comment, and Emergent declined to comment to the outlet.

Emergent BioSolutions previously told Insider its quality-control systems were "working as designed to detect and isolate any batch that fails to meet quality standards for any reason."

"No one, including employees at Emergent, wants to see vaccines that cannot be used," the company said in a statement, adding: "Any allegation that our safety, quality, and compliance systems are not working or that we do not take these responsibilities seriously is unequivocally false."

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