Germany demands that J&J make up COVID-19 vaccine gap in July

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FILE PHOTO: Johnson & Johnson coronavirus vaccine is seen in Columbus

FRANKFURT (Reuters) - Germany's health ministry said Johnson & Johnson must deliver 6.5 million COVID-19 vaccine doses to Germany in July to make up for a shortfall expected in June after the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) told the company to dispose of millions of doses because of contamination concerns.

"This is regrettable because each dose counts," a ministry spokesman said on Sunday in response to an enquiry by Reuters. "We therefore expect from J&J that this amount is delivered in July as quickly as possible."

Without disclosing or confirming the number of vaccine doses affected, the FDA said in a news release that it had authorised two batches of the vaccine for use, that several other batches were not suitable for use and that others were being evaluated.

A media report citing sources familiar with the matter had said 60 million J&J doses must be discarded, and two sources familiar with the situation told Reuters that about 10 million doses had been cleared by the agency.

The delivery gap hits Germany hard.

J&J had been due to deliver 10.1 million doses of its one-shot vaccine in the second quarter, the ministry said.

The ministry spokesman said that Germany will receive 50.3 million doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine in the second quarter, Moderna would ship 6.4 million and AstraZeneca 12.4 million, all fulfilling their supply commitments.

(Reporting by Andreas Rinke and Elke Ahlswede; Writing by Vera Eckert; Editing by David Goodman)