Johnson & Johnson vaccine
Johnson & Johnson vaccineReuters

Johnson & Johnson has temporarily suspended production at a key plant manufacturing the COVID-19 vaccine, AFP reported Tuesday, citing the New York Times.

The facility in the Dutch city of Leiden halted output late last year, according to the report, which cited people familiar with the decision.

J&J did not confirm nor deny the report, and a company spokesman would only say it has continued to fulfill delivery commitments.

J&J currently has "millions of doses of our COVID-19 vaccine in inventory," said the J&J spokesman.

"We continue to fulfill our contractual obligations in relation to the Covax facility and the African Union," the company spokesman said.

The FDA cleared the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine, which works with just one dose instead of two, last February, but the vaccine has been plagued by problems.

In December, an advisory panel to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) unanimously voted to give a preferential recommendation to mRNA vaccines, like those made by Pfizer and Moderna, over the one-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine due to rare but serious blood clots.

In July, the FDA announced a new warning for the Johnson & Johnson coronavirus vaccine, saying the shot has been linked to a serious but rare side effect called Guillain-Barré syndrome, in which the immune system attacks the nerves.

Additional plants are being outfitted to make the vaccine, but production is not expected until late spring, the Times report said.