Millions of Johnson & Johnson vaccines thrown away after ‘human error’

WHO expert calls on nations to 'work together' to fight coronavirus

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The single-shot Covid vaccines were damaged at a plant in Baltimore, America, belonging to Emergent Biosolutions – one of the companies that Johnson & Johnson is using to speed up manufacturing. The drugmaker had identified an issue with an ingredient used in the Covid vaccine, meaning it “can’t be used”. Workers at the plant – where Johnson & Johnson and AstraZeneca Covid vaccines are produced – were said to have made a “human error”.

Johnson & Johnson quickly shared the quality issue with the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

The pharmaceutical giant said the batch “was never advanced to the filling and finishing stages of our manufacturing process”.

To help minimise another case of human error, Johnson & Johnson are sending more people to supervise manufacturing at the plant.

“Quality and safety continue to be our top priority,” Johnson & Johnson said.

The company pledged 80 million doses will be delivered in the US by the end of May, which is said to still be on track – despite its most recent error.

The Johnson & Johnson Covid vaccine differs from the Moderna and Pfizer jabs, administered in the UK, as it doesn’t need to frozen.

This should mean the Johnson & Johnson vaccine is much easier to distribute.

In addition, the vaccine has been praised for its single dosage, while the other vaccines require two shots.

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At present, the UK has ordered 30 million doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

If the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) approves the vaccine, it will be distributed around the UK.

In a 44,000-person trial, the vaccine was found to be 66 percent effective at preventing moderate-to-severe Covid four weeks after inoculation, said Sky News.

Side effects – as with any vaccine – are to be expected, and may include:

  • Pain at the injection site
  • Tiredness
  • Muscle pain
  • Headache
  • Nausea

When will I get the vaccine?

Adults aged 50-54 in England should contact their GP if they’ve not already been offered the Covid vaccine.

Those eligible will receive a text message with a link to the national booking service website – people can also call the service on 119.

The over-50s are also being vaccinated in Wales and Scotland; meanwhile, those aged 45 to 49 are able to have their Covid jab if they’re in Northern Ireland.

People over 16 who live with adults with weakened immune systems will also be offered the vaccine.

People who should have been offered the Covid vaccine already:

  • Frontline health and social care staff
  • Elderly care home residents
  • Clinically extremely vulnerable people
  • Over-16s with some health conditions which increase their risk from Covid
  • Adult carers of disabled people and younger adults in care homes


Those under the age of 50, without underling medical conditions in England, may have to wait till May for their first jab.

They will then be vaccinated in order of age:

  • 40-49 years
  • 30-39 years
  • 18-29 years

A person’s risk of severe disease from Covid is closely linked to age, hence the vaccine schedule in younger adults being rolled-out in the way it is.

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