Airport ground crew offload a plane carrying just under 300,000 doses of the single-shot Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine at Pearson International Airport during the COVID-19 pandemic on Wednesday, April 28, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette

Airport ground crew offload a plane carrying just under 300,000 doses of the single-shot Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine at Pearson International Airport during the COVID-19 pandemic on Wednesday, April 28, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette

Plans to distribute 1st doses of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine on hold

Health Canada had already cleared 1.5 million doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine made at the facility

Plans to distribute the first 300,000 doses of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine next week are on hold after Health Canada learned part of them were manufactured at a Maryland facility that messed up the ingredients in 15 million doses bound for the U.S. market.

The Emergent Biosolutions facility in Baltimore was recently cited by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for violations including cleaning and sterilization failures, the potential for cross-contamination and failure to follow required protocols.

The FDA ordered the facility to stop making more J&J vaccine until the problems are corrected and the earlier mistake on the doses resulted in all 15 million being destroyed.

Health Canada had already cleared 1.5 million doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine made at the facility, but did not think the Canadian J&J doses had any connection to that plant.

Now Health Canada says the drug substance that makes up part of the J&J vaccine was actually produced there and then shipped elsewhere for the vaccines to be finished.

Health Canada says it is seeking information from the FDA and J&J’s pharmaceutical arm, Janssen, to determine if the 300,000 doses shipped to Canada meet required safety standards.

“As with all vaccines imported into Canada, the Janssen vaccines will only be released for distribution once Health Canada is satisfied that they meet the Department’s high standards for quality, safety and efficacy,” Health Canada said Friday evening in a release.

“Health Canada has rigorous processes in place to continually monitor the quality of vaccines that are administered to Canadians.

“We will continue to ensure that products coming from the Emergent facility, or any other facility, will only be imported and distributed in Canada if they are of high quality and safe for use.”

Until Friday, Health Canada had refused to say where Canada’s doses had been made, citing fear of disrupting a confidential supply chain.

The J&J vaccine has not been used in Canada so far, and the National Advisory Committee on Immunization hasn’t yet provided guidance on how they think it should be used.

The doses arrived in Canada on Wednesday and are in holding at the Innomar Strategies facility near Toronto’s Pearson airport. Innomar is contracted to receive and redistribute all vaccines in Canada, except Pfizer-BioNTech. That vaccine is shipped directly to provincial governments.

The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism? Make a donation here.

Coronavirus

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

From now to November, WildsafeBC will be educating the public through its various programs in the community of Bella Coola. (Black Press Media file photo)
Bears are back, and so is WildSafeBC

Rae will be working hard to reach out to community members in new and innovative ways

Bella Coola’s new WildSafeBC co-ordinator, Rae Kokeš, has spent the last 10 years in Africa working in lion, human, conflict, and is a wildlife biologist by trade. (Photo submitted)
From the savannas of Africa to the Bella Coola Valley

New Wildsafe BC coordinator ready to tackle wildlife conflict

RCMP crest. (Black Press Media files)
Stolen truck found broken down on Highway 97C, Williams Lake suspect arrested near Ashcroft

A security guard first noticed the truck, and thought it looked suspicious

This will be the second year the Bella Coola Valley Rodeo won’t take place due to the pandemic. (Michael Wigle file photo)
Bella Coola Valley Rodeo cancelled for 2021

Club organizers say next year’s rodeo will be bigger and better than ever

(The Canadian Press)
Trudeau won’t say whether Canada supports patent waiver for COVID-19 vaccines

‘Canada is at the table to help find a solution’

Pieces of nephrite jade are shown at a mine site in northwestern B.C. in July 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Tahltan Central Government MANDATORY CREDIT
Indigenous nation opposes jade mining in northwestern B.C.

B.C.’s Mines Act requires operators to prepare a plan to protect cultural heritage resources

The body of Brenda Ware, 35, was found along Highway 93 in Kootenay National Park on Thursday, May 6, 2021. (RCMP handout)
RCMP ask for tips after woman’s body found in Kootenay National Park

Brenda Ware was found along Highway 93 in the park, 54 kilometres north of the town of Radium

People pass the red hearts on the COVID-19 Memorial Wall mourning those who have died, opposite the Houses of Parliament on the Embankment in London, Wednesday, April 7, 2021. On May 3, the British government announced that only one person had died of COVID-19 in the previous 24 hours. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Kirsty Wigglesworth
For a view of a COVID-19 future, Canadians should look across the pond

Britain, like Canada, is one of the only countries in the world to delay second doses for several months

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Edmonton Oilers’ Connor McDavid (97) celebrates his 100th point this season with Leon Draisaitl (29) against the Vancouver Canucks during second period NHL action in Edmonton on Saturday, May 8, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Edmonton superstar McDavid hits 100-point mark as Oilers edge Canucks 4-3

NHL scoring leader needs just 53 games to reach century mark

Nuns of Mother Teresa’s Missionaries of Charity, carry some of her relics during a vigil of prayer in preparation for the canonization of Mother Teresa in the St. John in Latheran Basilica at the Vatican, Friday, Sept. 2, 2016. In which city did she do much of her charitable work? (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)
QUIZ: How much do you know about these motherhood issues?

In honour of Mother’s Day, take this 10-question quiz

Most Read