Did Emergent BioSolutions Sabotage Efforts to Vaccinate Against COVID-19?

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Health Editor’s Note: Emergent BioSolutions was tasked and paid for producing Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccines.  The J&J vaccine requires only one dose to be effective and is stored at normal levels of refrigeration. This vaccine would give every single person it was given to an immunity against contracting COVID-19 with only one injection. No repeat appointments necessary.  One and Done! The fact that this vaccine is only one dose makes it invaluable in reaching the hard to vaccinate groups such as homeless, transients, those in very rural areas, populations that have difficulties with mobility, communities of color with lack of transportation, hospital emergency department visits, or mobile vaccination plans. 

Emergent BioSolutions is a Maryland biotech firm that is supposed to be producing J&J COVID-19 vaccines . But wait, millions of those doses have had to be destroyed because this company has negligently allowed contamination of the vaccines. Investigations have shown the Emergent did not follow industry standards at the Baltimore plant which allowed for contamination with molds, bacteria, approval of raw materials that have not been fully tested, and poor training of some employees. 

What has allowed this horrible catastrophe to happen? The answer would be that there has been no real oversight by the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA), a governmental agency of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) which is responsible for development of medical countermeasures against pandemic influenza as well as other emerging diseases threats. 

With Trump’s denigration of science and medicine rhetoric, BARDA had/has become less effective to police such factories as the Baltimore’s Emergent BioSolutions vaccine production plant.  This is the price for allowing free rein and placing your friends into power.  Destructions of millions of doses of COVID-19 vaccines, doses that should have protected millions from COVID-19. A continuation of the numbers of COVID-19 illnesses and deaths brought on by the Trump and his administration’s lack of addressing the COVID-19 pandemic by ignoring scientific and medical facts…Carol

U.S. Bet Big on Covid Vaccine Manufacturer Even as Problems Mounted

byChris HambySharon LaFraniere and 

New York Times

WASHINGTON — More than eight years ago, the federal government invested in an insurance policy against vaccine shortages during a pandemic. It paid Emergent BioSolutions, a Maryland biotech firm known for producing anthrax vaccines, to have a factory in Baltimore always at the ready.

When the coronavirus pandemic arrived, the factory became the main U.S. location for manufacturing Covid-19 vaccines developed by Johnson & Johnson and AstraZeneca, churning out about 150 million doses as of last week.

But so far not a single dose has been usable because regulators have not yet certified the factory to allow the vaccines to be distributed to the public. Last week, Emergent said it would destroy up to 15 million doses’ worth of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine after contamination with the AstraZeneca vaccine was discovered.

Emergent and government health officials have long touted their partnership as a success, but an examination by The New York Times of manufacturing practices at the Baltimore facility found serious problems, including a corporate culture that often ignored or deflected missteps and a government sponsor, the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority, that acted more as a partner than a policeman.

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Biography
Carol graduated from Riverside White Cross School of Nursing in Columbus, Ohio and received her diploma as a registered nurse. She attended Bowling Green State University where she received a Bachelor of Arts Degree in History and Literature. She attended the University of Toledo, College of Nursing, and received a Master’s of Nursing Science Degree as an Educator.

She has traveled extensively, is a photographer, and writes on medical issues. Carol has three children RJ, Katherine, and Stephen – one daughter-in-law; Katie – two granddaughters; Isabella Marianna and Zoe Olivia – and one grandson, Alexander Paul. She also shares her life with husband Gordon Duff, many cats, and two rescue pups.

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7 COMMENTS

  1. Call it personal bias but i’ve learned to be suspicious of any outfit with words like “emergent” or “solutions” in their name. They tend to be management heavy, spin heavy, probably have mission statements; Ok for a PR company or cheezy 90’s .com but not to be trusted for actually making physical things, much less critical ones like vaccines.
    I find it interesting that of the three possibilities for the origin of this pandemic – natural, accidental or deliberate it’s the third that nobody wants to touch. i’d think this would be the one to conclusively rule out with some serious and transparent analysis of the virus’ DNA.
    Otherwise there may be endless “variants” turning up until the purpose of the those behind it has been achieved, and it’s even possible that (some) vaccines may just be the 2nd part of a one – two punch. At least Big Pharm will make out OK…
    “No matter how cynical you get, you just can’t keep up” – Lily Tomlin
    The times we’re living in (and VT ) seem to be proving her right.

    • Some serious and transparent analysis of the virus’ DNA? Now, there’s a novel idea. You’d think that would have been done first out of the gate before assuming animal transmission and mRNA approach based on that. So, let’s take the wrong vaccine for this unique type of virus? Nah, never. These drug guys know what they’re doing. It seems to be like trying to catch lightning in a bottle.

  2. “This vaccine would give every single person it was given to an immunity against contracting COVID-19 with only one injection”! Where did you hear that, in the commercial leaflet of Johnson & Johnson?

    • padre,

      This is accepted medical fact. Your beef is about what? Vaccines, COVID-19 vaccines, world-wide COVID-19 pandemic?

    • Yes, until the total population of this study are inoculated and a certain percentage proven to have threshold immunity, that statement is still a hypothesis. All drug studies use small samples to project a larger population result. Sometimes they are high percentage but not always. The forecasted levels of protection are just that. Forecasts. The paperwork with the drug usually has such a disclaimer. You can accept the forecasted rate if immunity or decline the vaccine as not worth any associated risks. Most drug trials are usually conducted on young healthy volunteers and, in this case bj probably no seniors or folks in long term care. Many variables to consider including doing nothing and hoping you are not in small percentage of the population that so far has contracted the virus. It’s still your call.