Johnson & Johnson | Health Canada blocks vaccine distribution

(Ottawa) Distribution of 300,000 doses of vaccine from Johnson & Johnson (Janssen) arriving in Canada on Wednesday has been suspended due to quality issues.

Melanie Marquis
Melanie Marquis
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The federal government issued a statement Friday night in a press release.

“Health Canada has learned that a drug produced by an Emergent facility is [dans l’État du Maryland] were used in the production of doses of Janssen vaccine that were originally intended for use in Canada and were received on April 28, ”the statement said.

“Like all vaccines imported into Canada, Janssen vaccines can only be distributed if Health Canada is satisfied that they meet the department’s high standards for quality, safety and efficacy,” he adds.

However, the vaccines were “manufactured in another facility outside the United States,” and “Health Canada is currently working with Janssen and the FDA. [Food and Drug Administration, agence américaine responsable des produits alimentaires et pharmaceutiques] to get all the information you need to complete this review, ”reads the same press release.

AstraZeneca vaccines are manufactured in the same plant in the United States.

But Canadian health authorities remain “confident that[es] that the 1.5 million doses of AstraZeneca vaccine imported into Canada from the facility meet specifications, ”a press release said Friday.

These doses were shipped to Canada under a “loan” agreement with the United States.

The place of production was kept secret until Friday.

304,000 single doses of the vaccine arrived in Toronto on Wednesday.

At a press conference the next day, the head of national distribution, Major General Dany Fortin, explained that vaccine doses are being thawed pending shipment to provinces and territories.

He didn’t want to say where they were from.


Major General Dani Fortin, responsible for the distribution of vaccines throughout the country.

We do not disclose some of the details of our supply chain for obvious reasons, but I assure you that the delivered product is safe and will be distributed as soon as possible.

Major General Dani Fortin at a press conference on Thursday.

In early April, US media reported that employees at Emerging BioSolutions, the Baltimore plant that makes Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine, accidentally mixed up certain ingredients, spoiling 15 million doses.

A press release from Health Canada on Friday did not indicate when the alarming dose quality information was received.

Ottawa gets US doses of Pfizer

Canada will receive vaccines from Pfizer-BioNTech in the US starting next week. Public Services and Procurement Minister Anita Anand confirmed the information when a reporter asked her the question at a press conference Friday afternoon. Doses will now come from Kalamazoo, Michigan, rather than Puursa, Belgium. This reversal came about three months after Canada paid the price for manufacturing problems at the Belgian Pfizer-BioNTech plant. The situation disrupted supply chains across the country for four weeks, including one when there was no vaccine in Ottawa. Meanwhile, a few hundred kilometers from the border, the American plant was operating at full capacity. A federal contract, which was never released to the general public, would nevertheless allow Pfizer-BioNTech to ship doses to Canada from the United States, Minister Anand said. It was only recently that Pfizer-BioNTech informed Canada that its doses would come from the south of the border. According to Minister Anand, the change will take effect on May 3 and the delivery schedule in the province will remain unchanged.

Canadian press

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