Aspen said it was ’extremely disappointed’ to learn over the past weekend that specific batches of the Johnson & Johnson (J&J) Covid-19 vaccine made at its Gqeberha production site, and destined for the South African market, had to be destroyed. Photo: File
Aspen said it was ’extremely disappointed’ to learn over the past weekend that specific batches of the Johnson & Johnson (J&J) Covid-19 vaccine made at its Gqeberha production site, and destined for the South African market, had to be destroyed. Photo: File

Johnson & Johnson to make up for vaccines that had to be destroyed

By Edward West Time of article published Jun 15, 2021

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ASPEN said it was “extremely disappointed” to learn over the past weekend that specific batches of the Johnson & Johnson (J&J) Covid-19 vaccine made at its Gqeberha production site, and destined for the South African market, had to be destroyed.

This was because of the risk of isolated material in the drug substance supplied to Aspen by J&J from their contract manufacturing partner in the US, Emergent, Aspen said in a statement yesterday.

The batches had been retained in storage awaiting the outcome of the US Food and Drug Administration’s assessment of Emergent.

“This is not only a setback to both the Aspen and J&J teams who have worked tirelessly to ensure the manufacture of these batches, but, more importantly, has the potential to negatively impact the vaccine roll-out across South Africa and Africa,” the group said.

To mitigate the potential risk to vaccine access, and in substitution of the volumes lost, the group said that within days J&J would provide 300 000 doses of the vaccine for South African teachers.

Within a week, Aspen expected to release J&J vaccines manufactured from a drug substance that had not been impacted by the Emergent contamination.

And over the next few weeks, J&J would deliver substantial quantities of compliant finished vaccines to South Africa to replace the lost stock, thereby ensuring the momentum in the South African vaccine initiative was maintained.

Aspen had further doses of the vaccine in production that would become available next month.

Aspen’s share price fell 0.06 percent to R168.88 on the JSE yesterday.

President Cyril Ramaphosa on Sunday urged the Group of Seven countries to help finance the World Health Organization’s programme to boost Covid-19 testing, diagnostics and vaccines, Reuters reported.

He said the G7 countries, which together account for more than half of global output, should support the Access to Covid-19 Tools Accelerator programme to plug the $16.8 billion (about R231.3bn) funding gap for this year.

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