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Grand Rapids-based Grand River Aseptic Manufacturing filling Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine

Grand River Aseptic Manufacturing exterior photo
Patrick Center

The U.S. now has a third vaccine preventing COVID-19. The Johnson & Johnson vaccine approved by the Food and Drug Administration over the weekend is manufactured in Grand Rapids.

“It’s great news for, you know, our country. Great news for the world. And it’s certainly great news for West Michigan.”

From its state-of-the-art Grand Rapids-based facility, Grand River Aseptic Manufacturing is filling the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine. Selected in August by Operation Warp Speed, the two were paired and a deal finalized in September.

Tom Ross is GRAM President and CEO, “We’ve been planning and developing this since we signed the contract last fall. So, we’ve been manufacturing for a few months now and we’re continuing to manufacture today and in the future.”

Grand River Aseptic Manufacturing interior photo
Credit Patrick Center / wgvunews.org
Grand River Aseptic Manufacturing interior

Four million doses expedited Monday. J&J says it will deliver about 16 million more doses by the end of March. 

“The vaccine is produced here and we do formulation activities, some dilution steps, some sterilization steps with filters and sterile filling into the vials.”

Steve Nole is Vice President of Operations.

“So, what you see in the marketplace as a vial with fill product that’s what we produce here.”

GRAM’s team has worked tirelessly meeting demand. Over the past six months it added 125 employees. The plan is to hire another 75 this year.

It’s also adding capacity. In late spring GRAM is opening a new 110,000 square foot finishing center near the Gerald R. Ford International Airport.

Patrick joined WGVU Public Media in December, 2008 after eight years of investigative reporting at Grand Rapids' WOOD-TV8 and three years at WYTV News Channel 33 in Youngstown, Ohio. As News and Public Affairs Director, Patrick manages our daily radio news operation and public interest television programming. An award-winning reporter, Patrick has won multiple Michigan Associated Press Best Reporter/Anchor awards and is a three-time Academy of Television Arts & Sciences EMMY Award winner with 14 nominations.