Biden Administration to Help AstraZeneca Produce Vaccine in U.S.

In the U.S., vaccines from Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson are some of the most readily available. However, in Europe, the AstraZeneca vaccine has been the one primarily being administered. Now, after a production error regarding the vaccine, the Biden administration is working with the company to help them produce more doses.

Earlier this week, the Biden team announced that they would be working to help AstraZeneca find new manufacturing capacity in the U.S. This comes after an incident at a Baltimore-based Emergent BioSolutions facility where ingredients for AstraZeneca’s and Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine were mixed up. As a result, $15 million worth of vaccines were spoiled.

Stemming from this incident, AstraZeneca’s vaccine will no longer be produced at the facility. Instead, Johnson & Johnson will be taking over production. The AstraZeneca vaccine has not been approved for usage in the U.S., but the government has ordered 300 million shots from the company. 42 million doses were donated by the U.S. to Canada and Mexico, who have both approved the vaccine.

It is due to this lack of authorization that the production change was taken. None of the doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine that are currently being administered and distributed were impacted by the incident. Additionally, Press Secretary Jen Psaki said that the U.S. is still well on target for having enough vaccines available for all adults by the end of May.

The AstraZeneca vaccine has not only run into issues here in the U.S. In the U.K. and Europe, concerns have been rising over the effects of the vaccine. Many of these nations had anticipated using the AstraZeneca vaccine as the backbone of their vaccination efforts, but some have either halted or slowed down distribution. The main concern is over rare blood clots which have developed after people have received the vaccine, but regulators in the U.K. insist that the vaccine is safe to use.