Native electricians engaged on COVID vaccine facility | Information
Nine Daviess Countians are among 70 electricians working six days a week in Bloomington, Indiana to complete a pharmaceutical facility due to begin manufacturing a vaccine for coronavirus early next year.
Greg Wood, Project Manager at PayneCrest Electric in St. Louis, is one of the locals who has been working on the project at Catalent Biologics in Bloomington since February.
“The entire facility is approximately 1.5 million square feet,” said Wood on Thursday. “The part we’re working on is over 100,000 square feet.”
Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies signed an agreement with Catalent in April to “accelerate manufacturing availability and prepare for large-scale commercial production at its Bloomington facility of Johnson & Johnson’s lead vaccine candidate for COVID-19,” the companies said back then.
Wood said the facility will produce 1.5 million vials of the vaccine a day once the vaccine receives final approval.
“We essentially have to be ready by September,” he said.
The project put in a lot of overtime and the electricians work two shifts a day six days a week, Wood said.
“We come back to Owensboro occasionally,” he said. “But there isn’t much time for that. We all have apartments up here. “
Working those hours during a pandemic isn’t easy, Wood said.
“We have to wear masks or face shields and have our temperature checked before we can get to work each day,” he said.
“The masks fogged up our goggles and that slowed productivity,” said Wood. “Now we have face protection on our hard hats and it’s much faster.”
Work on the facility began in February, but the pandemic didn’t hit America until March.
According to Wood, Catalent has customers all over the world.
The project is part of the government’s Operation Warp Speed, which has partnered with Johnson & Johnson, Moderna, AstraZeneca and other pharmaceutical companies to help develop a coronavirus vaccine.
Congress allocated nearly $ 10 billion to the project.
The goal was to deliver 300 million doses of a safe and effective vaccine against coronavirus by January.