House panel alleges cover-up by contract vaccine maker

WASHINGTON (AP) — Executives at contract vaccine maker Emergent BioSolutions covered up quality control issues that led to the destruction of more than 400 million doses of coronavirus vaccines, congressional investigators said Tuesday. in a report.

The number of doses destroyed was far higher than previously thought, and senior executives had been warned for years that its quality systems were flawed, according to the House committee report.

“Despite major red flags at its vaccine manufacturing facility, Emergent executives swept these issues under the rug and continued to raise taxpayer dollars,” said Rep. Carolyn Maloney, DN.Y.

The report says inexperienced staff and high turnover rates have contributed to vaccine contamination.

The trouble-ridden Baltimore plant was shut down by the Food and Drug Administration in April 2021 due to the contamination. The company was forced to throw away what was thought to be the equivalent of tens of millions of doses of vaccine it was manufacturing for Johnson & Johnson. The bulk vaccine had been contaminated with an ingredient in AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine, which was made in the same factory.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration cleared Emergent to resume production of COVID-19 vaccines in August 2021. Emergent received $330 million in public funds before the federal government terminated the contract in November, according to The report.

A company spokesperson said Tuesday that the report contained “nothing new” and that the company had already provided the information to the media and the FDA.

“Emergent has been open and forthcoming with the FDA, Congress, and our partners about work at our Bayview site,” the spokesperson said in an emailed statement.

Emergent chief executive Robert G. Kramer apologized for “the failure of our controls” and blamed the problems at the plant on the complexity of rapidly ramping up production of two different vaccines.

Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

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