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Germany demands J&J replace spoiled vaccine doses

June 13, 2021

Production faults in Baltimore have left Germany 6.5 million doses short. Germany's health ministry is demanding substitute deliveries by July.

Vial of J&J Covid-19 vaccine
Tens of millions of Johnson and Johnson vaccines had to be discarded due to potential contaminationImage: Eibner-Pressefoto/EXPA/Feichter/imago images

Germany's Health Ministry told US pharmaceutical giant Johnson & Johnson on Sunday that it expected delivery of 6.5 million doses in July to offset a vaccine shortfall.

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced on Friday it had identified potentially contaminated vaccines during a recent inspection at a plant in Baltimore. The issue was  flagged by the European Medicines Agency (EMA).

US media reported that 10 million J&J doses had been cleared for use, but 60 million faced disposal.

"This is regrettable, because every vaccine dose counts," replied a German Health Ministry spokesperson Sunday. 

"Therefore, we expect Johnson & Johnson to deliver this quantity as soon as possible in July" — to offset the 6.5 million dosages by the end of June.

The ministry listed deliveries of three other EU-licensed vaccines due by the end of the April to June quarter. 

"As of today we expect Biontech [-Pfizer]  to deliver 50.3 million doses, Moderna 6.4 million doses and Astrazeneca with 12.4 million doses to meet their respective current supply commitments for the second quarter,'' stated the ministry.

'World must share vaccines': UN

Up until last Friday, nearly 1.15 million Johnson & Johnson shots had reportedly been administered in Germany, just under 2% of all vaccine doses injected in the federal republic.

Germany's call coincided with G7 leaders, meeting in Cornwall, promising to deliver 1 billion Covid-19 vaccines to poorer countries, African included.

Host British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said that total would be met through a mix of countries making outright donations as well as payments to the World Health Organization (WHO)-backed COVAX vaccine-sharing program.

The United Nations' agency estimates that 11 billion doses are needed to quash the pandemic surging since late 2019.

ipj/aw (dpa, Reuters)