Tokyo – Japan will halt use of 1.63 million doses of Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine following reports of contamination among some vaccine bottles.
The decision was made by Japanese drugmaker Takeda and the country’s health ministry on Thursday (26/8).
Takeda, who is in charge of the sale and distribution of Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine in Japan, said it had “received reports from several vaccination centers that foreign substances were found in unopened vaccine vials of certain lots”.
“After consulting with the health ministry, we have decided to suspend the use of the vaccine from the lot from August 26,” said Takeda, as quoted by Channel News Asia, Thursday (26/8/2021).
The company said it had notified Moderna of the findings and “requested an immediate investigation”.
Moderna has not yet provided an official comment regarding the findings.
Takeda did not elaborate on the form of contamination that occurred in the vials of the vaccine, but said he had so far not received any reports of health problems arising from contaminated doses.
Japan’s Health Ministry said it would work closely with Takeda to secure alternative doses of the COVID-19 vaccine to avoid disruption to the country’s vaccine program, which has ramped up after a slow start.
About 43 percent of Japan’s population is currently fully vaccinated, but the country is also battling a surge in coronavirus cases triggered by the Delta variant.
And About 15,500 people have died from COVID-19 in Japan during the pandemic, and much of the region there is still under restrictions.