U.S. ousts Astra from factory, puts J&J in charge

The United States government blocking AstraZeneca from using the Baltimore factory that botched 15 million coronavirus vaccine doses, and placed its rival Johnson and Johnson solely in charge of the facility instead.

That's according to a Reuters source, a senior health official.

It's the latest setback for AstraZeneca, the British pharmaceutical giant, which had been previously criticized by the government for using outdated data in the results of its vaccine trial. It's not been approved yet in the U.S.

Several major countries including Canada, France, and Germany, have also limited use of Astra's vaccine while they investigate reports of blood clotting, although the reports are incredibly rare. Millions of people have already been inoculated with it.

The Baltimore factory is owned by a company called Emergent BioSolutions, and it previously produced coronavirus vaccines for both Astra and Johnson and Johnson. The botched doses incident occurred several weeks ago, when the factory reportedly mixed ingredients for the two different vaccines together in error.

The New York Times reports that the Biden administration's move to oust AstraZeneca from the facility was done to avoid future mix-ups.

Last week Dr. Anthony Fauci, the government's top infectious disease expert, told Reuters that the country has enough vaccines in the pipeline that it may not need AstraZeneca's, even if it does win approval.