Johnson & Johnson (NYSE:JNJ) has decided to temporarily suspend production of its COVID-19 vaccine in Leiden in the Netherlands to prioritize production of an investigational respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) vaccine, according to The New York Times.
The plant will resume production of its COVID-19 vaccine in a matter of months, the paper reported. The company is also working to enlist other facilities to help produce the vaccine, but they are either currently not operational or haven’t received regulatory approval.
While the J&J vaccine has failed to find widespread use in wealthy countries, it remains popular in portions of the developing world, including much of Africa. The vaccine has less-demanding storage requirements than the first generation of mRNA vaccines and offers robust protection against a range of variants when administered as a two-dose series.
At present, 11.3% of Africans are fully vaccinated, and 16.37% are fully vaccinated, according to the African CDC.
Production of the Janssen COVID-19 vaccine has also been diminished in the U.S. following a series of quality problems in a facility operated by Emergent Biosolutions (NYSE:EBS). Although production at that facility has resumed, the FDA hasn’t yet authorized the distribution of the recent vaccine doses produced at the facility.
Janssen also plans to tap additional plants to produce its COVID-19 vaccine, including a Merck facility in North Carolina and a plant from Biological E in India. Those plants, however, are not currently making the vaccine.
The Janssen COVID-19 vaccine was primarily developed at the Leiden facility.