Johnson & Johnson said Thursday it still expects to meet its commitments for the promised delivery of an additional 24 million doses of its Covid-19 vaccine in April, even after a quality problem at one of the company's contract manufacturers.
The plant that had the problem, run by Baltimore-based Emergent BioSolutions, has not yet been authorized by the US Food and Drug Administration to make the vaccine and has not made any of the doses that are in the current vaccine rollout.
Emergent told CNN the problem affected a single batch of "bulk drug substance" used to make vaccine.
In an emailed statement to CNN, Emergent said its quality control systems caught the batch that "did not meet specifications and our rigorous quality standards" before it got any further. The company said it isolated the material and will now dispose of it.
It did not detail what the ingredient was or how important it was for any resulting vaccine.
Some background: The New York Times reported Wednesday that workers at Emergent accidentally mixed up some of the ingredients that would have gone into as many as 15 million potential doses of vaccine. But Emergent CEO Bob Kramer told CNBC there was not a mixup between vaccines being made at the plant.
"It wasn't the case where an ingredient from one vaccine contaminated or impacted the other," he said.
He would not confirm the estimate that the batch would have affected 15 million doses.
"Importantly, the quality control systems worked as designed to detect and isolate this single batch," Emergent's statement said. "Discarding a batch of bulk drug substance, while disappointing, does occasionally happen during vaccine manufacturing, which is a complex and multi-step biological process."
Emergent added that it is confident the company will meet the FDA's requirements for authorization to make this vaccine. Emergent is also working on Covid-19 vaccines made by other companies.
It's still unclear when Emergent may get FDA authorization. Johnson & Johnson said it is continuing to work with the FDA and Emergent toward the authorization of the facility.