Production of AstraZeneca's COVID-19 vaccine was briefly suspended after a suspicious package was sent to one of its largest plants

Alexandra Ma,Mia Jankowicz
·2 min read
wockhardt uk astrazeneca vaccine evacuated
Police vehicles stand outside the Wockhardt UK plant n Wrexham, Wales, on January 27, 2021. Phil Noble/Reuters
  • A plant producing Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines halted production after getting a suspicious package on Wednesday morning.

  • The Wockhardt UK plant in Wales, which is producing 100 million doses of the vaccine, evacuated employees.

  • Production resumed Wednesday afternoon. The content and source of the package remains unknown.

  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

Production of the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine was briefly suspended after one of its largest plants received a "suspicious package" and had to evacuate workers.

The Wockhardt UK plant in Wrexham, Wales, received the package shortly before 10:40 a.m. local time on Wednesday, North Wales Police said in a statement sent to Insider.

Local police and a bomb-disposal unit attended the scene, the force added.

The plant evacuated its employees in response, with a Wockhardt UK spokesman telling Insider that production was halted due to workers being off site.

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The plant reopened and production resumed on Wednesday afternoon, the spokesman told Insider.

"This temporary suspension of manufacturing has in no way affected our production schedule and we are grateful to the authorities and experts for their swift response and resolution of the incident," he said in a late Wednesday afternoon statement sent to Insider.

The contents and source of the package remain unknown. No injuries have been reported.

Wockhardt UK was tasked by the government to make 100 million doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine, per the company's spokesman. The agreement was struck in August 2020 and due to run for 18 months.

The plant has been charged with carrying out the "fill and finish" stage of the manufacturing process, dispensing the vaccine into vials ready for distribution, per a government statement.

A company press release announcing the partnership said the company has long been one of the National Health Service's largest suppliers, and that it employs more than 400 people at its 612,000-square-foot Wrexham plant.

Read more: More than 200 coronavirus vaccines are still in development as the initial vaccine rollout ramps up. Here's how experts anticipate 2021 playing out.

Insider has contacted the UK Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy for comment.

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