Lawmakers expand investigation of troubled Baltimore vaccine plant

Lawmakers are expanding their probe of the troubled Emergent BioSolutions vaccine plant in Baltimore and are now focusing attention on manufacturing contracts with AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson.

Democratic leaders on two House panels in letters dated Tuesday asked the CEOs of AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson to produce all communications related to efforts to supervise manufacturing, quality or compliance of their vaccines at the Emergent plant.

The lawmakers also asked the companies to produce all records related to their decisions to hire Emergent as a subcontractor, as well as the specific numbers of doses that have either been destroyed, delayed or shipped.

The story so far: The company is facing scrutiny from Congress after it was awarded a $628 million contract last year to establish the primary U.S. facility for manufacturing vaccines developed by Johnson & Johnson and AstraZeneca.

The Baltimore plant has been forced to destroy the equivalent of tens of millions of doses of Johnson & Johnson’s coronavirus vaccine because of suspected contamination with an ingredient for the AstraZeneca vaccine. Both vaccines were being manufactured by Emergent at its Baltimore facility.