An illustration picture shows vials with COVID-19 Vaccine stickers attached and syringes with the logo of US pharmaceutical company Johnson & Johnson on Nov 17, 2020. (JUSTIN TALLIS / AFP)
MONTEVIDEO / JOHANNESBURG / WASHINGTON - Johnson & Johnson said on Monday it had formally informed Emergent BioSolutions Inc of its decision to terminate agreement with the contract manufacturer to make COVID-19 vaccine for the drugmaker.
The termination notice comes about a week after J&J had initially informed Emergent of its intent to end the pact based on the contract manufacturer's breaches, including failure to supply COVID-19 vaccine drug substance, J&J said
The termination notice comes about a week after J&J had initially informed Emergent of its intent to end the pact based on the contract manufacturer's breaches, including failure to supply COVID-19 vaccine drug substance, J&J said.
Emergent said earlier on Monday that J&J breached an agreement by failing to buy the minimum quantity of COVID-19 vaccines made by the company.
The contract manufacturer added that J&J had failed to provide required forecasts for the amount of vaccines it needed and had wound down the agreement instead of fulfilling minimum requirements.
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If the agreement is terminated, Emergent said J&J would owe it roughly $125 million to $420 million.
J&J, in its statement, said Emergent's filing was "false and misleading".
"We have sufficient capacity across our global COVID-19 vaccine manufacturing network, and we continue to meet our contractual obligations to supply our vaccine," J&J said.
The use of J&J's COVID-19 vaccine has been stalled in the United States after the Food and Drug Administration in May significantly restricted its use due to safety concerns.
J&J has also pulled its COVID-19 vaccine sales forecast for the year due to a supply glut led by low demand globally.
Manufacturing at Emergent's Baltimore plant was briefly halted last year after a discovery that ingredients from AstraZeneca's COVID-19 vaccine, also being produced there at that time, contaminated a batch of J&J's vaccines.
Pfizer Inc said on Monday it would spend $120 million to expand manufacturing of its COVID-19 antiviral treatment at its Michigan plant, as demand ramps up.
Use of the pill, Paxlovid, authorized to treat newly infected, at-risk people to prevent severe illness, has soared recently as infections rise.
Biden administration officials have pushed for the wider use of Paxlovid, which the government distributes for free.
A miner receives a Covid-19 vaccine at Anglo American Platinum Ltd's Tumela mine in Amandelbult, South Africa, on August 12. (WALDO SWIEGERS / BLOOMBERG)
South Africa's health department officials announced that people aged 50 and older will be eligible for a second booster dose of Pfizer vaccine from Monday.
All people in this age group who have received either Pfizer or Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine at least 120 days or four months prior may receive the additional booster.
Uruguay's President Luis Lacalle attends the opening of the World Press Freedom Day Conference in Punta del Este, Uruguay, on May 2, 2021. (PABLO PORCIUNCULA / AFP)
Uruguayan President Luis Lacalle Pou announced Monday that he tested positive for COVID-19, canceling his trip to the ninth Summit of the Americas.
The president said on his Twitter account that he took a PCR test that was positive for his upcoming trip to the US city of Los Angeles for the summit.
"As a result of this situation I must cancel all activities for the next few days," he said.
Lacalle was scheduled to attend the summit from June 8 to 10.
Pete Buttigieg, nominee for US Transportation Secretary, testifies at his confirmation hearing before the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation committee in Washington, DC, US, on Jan 21, 2021. (STEFANI REYNOLDS / POOL / AFP)
US Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said on Monday that he has tested positive for COVID-19.
Buttigieg, 40, tweeted that he's "experiencing mild symptoms" and plans "to work remotely while isolating."
"Look forward to when I can safely return to the office and the road," he also wrote.
Buttigieg is the latest in the Biden administration to have reported a positive result on COVID-19 testing.
COVID-19 cases are increasing across the United States, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The United States has reported more than 84 million COVID-19 infections and over 1 million related deaths, Johns Hopkins University data showed.
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