LONDON (Reuters) – A factory in Wales that produces AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine was partially evacuated on Wednesday after it received a suspicious package and police said a bomb disposal unit was dealing with the incident.
Operated by Wockhardt UK, the plant provides so-called fill-and-finish capacity for AstraZeneca’s UK supply chain, which is the final manufacturing step of putting vaccines into vials or syringes and packaging them.
AstraZeneca has agreed to supply Britain with 100 million doses of the vaccine, developed by Oxford University.
It is currently engaged in a dispute with the European Union after it cut supplies to the bloc due to production issues at its Belgian factory.
“Wockhardt UK in Wrexham this morning received a suspicious package to site. All relevant authorities were immediately notified and engaged,” the company said, referring to its facility outside the town of Wrexham in north Wales.
“Upon expert advice we have partially evacuated the site pending a full investigation. The safety of our employees and business continuity remain of paramount importance,” it said.
Local police confirmed that a bomb disposal unit was on site and advised the public to avoid the area.
“We are currently dealing with an ongoing incident on the Wrexham Industrial Estate,” they said in a statement.
(Reporting by Alistair Smout, Michael Holden and Guy Faulconbridge; Editing by Estelle Shirbon and David Clarke)