FDA authorizes more J&J shots from Emergent, but plant remains closed

The FDA has cleared another batch of up to 15 million doses of Johnson & Johnson's COVID-19 vaccine made at Emergent BioSolutions' Baltimore plant, The New York Times reported. 

The July 2 authorization brings the total number of doses made at the plant and cleared by the FDA to roughly 40 million. 

The plans for the shots are unclear, but they will most likely be exported due to a drop in demand for vaccines in the U.S. and a plentiful supply of shots made by Moderna and Pfizer, the Times reported. 

Johnson & Johnson fell about 40 million doses short of its goal of delivering 100 million doses to the U.S. by the end of June, according to the Times. The FDA didn't disclose the precise number of doses cleared July 2, but several people familiar with the matter told the Times the batch consisted of up to 15 million doses. 

Emergent's manufacturing plant is expected to remain closed for at least several more weeks as the company works to bring it up to U.S. standards, people familiar with the matter told the Times. The FDA said July 2 it's still not ready to certify the plant. 

Millions of Johnson & Johnson vaccines made at the plant were thrown out due to possible contamination, and Congress is investigating Emergent BioSolutions. 

Johnson & Johnson has also partnered with Merck to make its COVID-19 vaccine, but the factory they will use isn't expected to start operating until the fall, the Times reported. 

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