New York Times Report: Mixup At Baltimore Facility Ruined Millions Of Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 Vaccine Doses

According to a published report by The New York Times, a mix-up at a Baltimore facility may have ruined millions of Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine doses.

Video Transcript

RICK RITTER: 15 million vaccine doses reportedly spoiled. It is a stunning new report that says a mix up at a Baltimore facility may have ruined the Johnson and Johnson shots leading to delays in future shipments. Welcome to the news at 7, everyone. I'm Rick Ridder.

NICOLE BAKER: And I'm Nicole Baker. The New York Times tonight says human error caused that issue at Emergent BioSolutions, a company we've been talking a lot about in the recent months. The good news is none of the current doses that people have gotten are affected by this.

RICK RITTER: WJZ Investigator, Mike Hellgren, live in Baltimore tonight with more on these breaking developments in a story everyone is talking about. Mike.

MIKE HELLGREN: Rick, Nicole, a lot to get to. We'll start with Johnson and Johnson. They say that none of the vaccine made in Baltimore has ever been injected into people's arms, because the facility is not yet FDA approved.

The Johnson amd Johnson company just put out a statement. They say that their quality control process identified a batch of vaccine made at Emergent that did not meet their standards. Now we have reached out to Emergent BioSolutions for comment on the New York Times reporting, on the Johnson and Johnson statement, and we have yet to hear back.

Breaking tonight, the New York Times is reporting human error and Emergent BioSolutions solutions, highly touted vaccine facility in Baltimore, may have ruined 15 million doses of the Johnson and Johnson vaccine.

The times reports, the ingredients for the Johnson and Johnson vaccine, as well as the AstraZeneca vaccine made here, somehow got mixed up.

- We freeze them down and we shipped them out of here to contract fillers who put them in the vials.

MIKE HELLGREN: Governor Larry Hogan toured the facility in February and praised the work being done here. According to the Times, the issue has stopped future shipments of Johnson and Johnson doses in the United States, while the Food and Drug Administration looks into the matter.

The facility manufactures the active material for the vaccines. WJZ has also learned none of the Johnson and Johnson doses made with that material in Baltimore has yet to be used, because the FDA has yet to approve the facility.

Emergent says they are awaiting that approval, which the Times says is delayed because of the vaccine mix up. It comes as Maryland is seeing COVID infections, and the positivity rate rise.

And it's highest in Harford County at 9.3%, more than doubling in the past month, with Aberdeen, Edgewood, and Abingdon leading in New cases.

BARRY GLASSMAN: We want folks to continue to wear a mask, wash your hands.

MIKE HELLGREN: While the county executive is monitoring the numbers, he sees no need for more restrictions.

BARRY GLASSMAN: I kind of think we're beyond that point. I think we've got to continue to push to get everyone vaccinated.

MIKE HELLGREN: Harford county's health officer says 20 to 50-year-olds are behind the rise.

- If we keep on giving this many young people infections, we're going to see deaths of young healthy people with full lives that could have been ahead of them.

MIKE HELLGREN: Now back to that vaccine issue, Johnson and Johnson says if you've gotten their vaccine, there's no problem with it. All the doses were made elsewhere, not here in Baltimore because the facility is not yet approved by the government.

Also, we want to again say that we did reach out to Emergent BioSolutions for comment. We haven't yet heard back. We will tell you once we do. Reporting live in Baltimore, Michael Hellgren, WJZ