Health Canada is holding off on distributing the first shipment of Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccine after it became clear the doses that arrived on Wednesday were processed in the same U.S. plant that’s been mired in quality-control problems.
Reports first surfaced in the New York Times earlier this month about problems at a Baltimore, Md., plant run by Emergent BioSolutions, where both the AstraZeneca-Oxford and Johnson & Johnson vaccines were being manufactured.
Emergent announced earlier this month that 15 million doses of the latter had been ruined by cross-contamination — a development that prompted the White House to put Johnson & Johnson in charge of the facility.
The Johnson & Johnson shots that arrived in Canada will only be released for distribution once Health Canada ensures they’ve met its “high standards for quality, safety and efficacy,” the federal department said in a statement Friday evening.
Health Canada says it remains “confident” the 1.5 million doses of AstraZeneca vaccine imported into Canada from this facility do meet quality specifications.