5 April- A White House official said Monday that the decision to end production of AstraZeneca's COVID 19 vaccine at the Baltimore manufacturing facility is not an indication of concerns about its safety or effectiveness and will not affect the release of doses, a White House official said on Monday.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services ordered Johnson Johnson to produce at the plant that was being used to manufacture both vaccines. Emergent was told to stop producing AstraZeneca's shot after the contract manufacturer made an error that ruined 15 million J& J COVID 19 vaccine doses.
This is not a decision that has anything to do with any concerns about the AstraZeneca vaccine, White House COVID 19 adviser Andy Slavitt told reporters during a virtual news conference.
The AstraZeneca shot, which is being used in dozens of countries, has been under increased scrutiny over reports of very serious but rare blood clots in the brain in some people who received the vaccine.
The manufacturing mistake occurred several weeks ago when it was discovered that a batch of AstraZeneca's vaccine had been contaminated with ingredients from J& J's vaccine, the New York Times reported last week.
On Saturday, J& J reiterated that it will deliver 100 million doses to the government by the end of May. On Sunday, Emergent said that it would start reducing production of AstraZeneca's COVID-19 vaccine at the Baltimore plant.
AstraZeneca, whose vaccine has not yet been approved for use in the United States, said that it would work with President Joe Biden's administration to find an alternative production site.
This is a decision that Slavitt made in complete collaboration with Johnson Johnson and AstraZeneca, said HHS.
Slavitt also said during the briefing on Monday that nearly one-in three Americans have had at least one COVID 19 vaccine and more than 55% of seniors have been vaccinated fully.
However, average daily coronavirus infections have increased to 7% over the previous seven-day period to around 64,000 daily, told reporters on Monday.
The United States has administered nearly 208 million COVID 19 shots and shipped more than 165 million, according to federal data last updated on Sunday.