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Over 135 million of Johnson & Johnson's COVID-19 vaccine shots from a troubled Baltimore factory will have to be destroyed, US Congressional panel leaders said on 11 August citing quality problems.

The following announcement was made after a report published in May detailed how more than 400 million vaccine doses made at an Emergent BioSolutions plant had to be trashed. All these doses -- slated for destruction -- were made between August 2021 and February, the House members said.

No doses produced at the site since the factory restarted have reached the market, and it was ending its agreement with Emergent, Johnson & Johnson said in a statement 11 August.

ALSO READ: Canada: Random Covid testing will resume for international travellers

The House panel said J&J told it that a batch of the shots failed inspection, which rendered all of them unusable.

According to South Carolina Democrat and COVID-19 subcommittee chairman Jim Clyburn, the factory's problems have hurt vaccinations in areas of the world where vaccines are still in short supply.

Meanwhile, Emergent said it has been 'open and forthcoming' about the factory's challenges. It also noted that J&J took control of the plant after problems first emerged and was in charge until manufacturing stopped there earlier in 2022.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) initially shut down the problem-plagued Baltimore factory in early 2021 due to contamination. Later in August 2021, the government then allowed production to resume.

J&J's vaccine was one of three initially authorized by US regulators more than a year ago to protect against COVID-19. However, the government has since strictly limited who can receive the shot due to a small risk of rare but serious blood clots.

With PTI inputs.

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