At least two million doses of AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine had to be thrown out last year by the same Baltimore facility that ruined 15 million Johnson & Johnson vaccine doses, The New York Times reports. In a lengthy expose, the Times reports that Emergent BioSolutions, a manufacturing company contracted by both the government and private companies to make vaccines, had countless issues—from facilities riddled with mold to a failure to prove they could make large amounts of vaccine—but they kept getting multi-million dollar government contracts for years. Officials told the Times they felt they had no choice but to tap Emergent again when the pandemic hit.
It emerged last week that Emergent had to toss 15 million J&J doses after they were cross-contaminated with AstraZeneca doses. Anonymous former employees explained shocking work practices to the Times. As the company struggled to meet skyrocketing demands and quality control problems escalated, one senior supervisor said, “Do you want me to make drugs or fix issues? I don’t have time to do both.”