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EU: Import of Johnson & Johnson COVID vaccines from South Africa is temporary

Christian Fernsby |
The European Commission said on Thursday it had reached a temporary agreement with South Africa to use a plant there to bottle Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccines that are being imported into the EU.

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On Wednesday the WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told reporters he was “stunned” by news that J&J vaccines were being exported from South Africa to the EU, because the EU has already very high vaccination rates while in many African countries not even the most vulnerable have been vaccinated.

A spokesperson for the European Commission told reporters on Thursday the agreement with South Africa was reached after J&J faced problems in producing vaccines in the United States at a factory belonging to its partner Emergent Biosolutions.

Under the deal, Aspen Pharmacare bottles the vaccine substance produced elsewhere, and then transfers the finished doses to South Africa and the EU.

From September, J&J will transfer all bottling operations for vaccines directed to the EU to Leiden, the EU spokesperson said.


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