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Canada is pausing distribution of Johnson & Johnson vaccines

Last Updated Apr 30, 2021 at 7:44 pm EDT

FILE - In this Wednesday, March 3, 2021 file photo, a pharmacist holds a vial of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine at a hospital in Bay Shore, N.Y. Janssen Pharmaceuticals is a division of Johnson & Johnson. On Wednesday, April 21, 2021, the Food and Drug Administration released a report saying the now-idle Emergent Biosciences factory where a key contractor hired to help make Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccine was dirty, didn’t follow proper manufacturing procedures and had poorly trained staff, resulting in contamination of a batch of the vaccine. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)

Effective immediately, Canada is pausing distribution of the recent shipment of Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccines.

The recent shipment of the one-dose COVID-19 vaccines from Johnson & Johnson won’t be used, as Health Canada has learned these doses were partially processed in the Baltimore plant that ruined 15 million doses at the beginning of April.

That plant was forced to close, while the United States Food and Drug Administration investigates.

In a statement, Health Canada says those doses will only be released when “once Health Canada is satisfied that they meet the Department’s high standards for quality, safety and efficacy.” Health Canada is currently working with the FDA and Janssen to check these vaccines.

A spokesperson for Health Minister Patty Hajdu says “the government was made aware of this information today – the same day Health Canada decided to communicate it with Canadians.”

The office of Procurement Minister Anita Anand released a statement, which says “an initial shipment of approximately 300,000 doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine landed in Canada on Wednesday, April 28. As Health Canada’s review of these vaccines is ongoing, and it works with the supplier to obtain all of the needed information, the government awaits further information prior to their release.”

A Conservative Member of Parliament from Alberta is calling out the Liberal government for the delay on pausing the distribution.

MP Michelle Rempel Garner, of Calgary Nose Hill, says the federal government should’ve released this information earlier “before shots went into arms.”