Over 300,000 doses of the Johnson & Johnson single-shot COVID-19 vaccine will not be released for use in Canada. The doses have been held in Quarantine since they arrived in April due to a quality control problem.
In a statement issued on Friday, Health Canada said it has completed its quality review of the shipment and has decided not to distribute them to provinces to “protect the health and safety of Canadians” amid concerns over issues at the Emergent BioSolutions Baltimore facility where the vaccine was produced.
J&J had to throw out more than 15 million doses of vaccine made at the Emergent BioSolutions plant in early April after it was discovered workers had mixed up the formula with one for the AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine, which was also being made there, according to CBC Canada.
Specifically, Health Canada says the 310,000 doses Canada received were produced at the same time that the mixup occurred at the Baltimore facility, and the department can’t determine if they meet Canada’s standards.
The announcement comes after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) said on Friday they were releasing 10 million doses of the J&J vaccine but that several other batches, amounting to about 50 million doses, were “unsuitable” and will be destroyed.
According to CTV News Canada, AstraZeneca’s shot is no longer being made at the Baltimore facility, and Health Canada previously said that the 1.5 million doses of AstraZeneca it had imported from this facility were safe and met quality specifications.
To ensure the safety of “any future vaccine supply” from the facility, Health Canada said it is planning an onsite inspection of the factory this summer.
“Until this inspection has been completed, Canada will not be accepting any product or ingredients made at this site,” Health Canada said.