Japan halts use of 1.6 million Moderna doses over contamination fears
Japan on Thursday suspended the use of about 1.6 million doses of the Moderna vaccine due to contamination.
The decision has been taken as a precaution after the Health Ministry detected “foreign substances” in vials of the Moderna vaccine, according to Katsunobu Kato, chief spokesperson for the Japanese government.
“Moderna is also conducting an investigation into the presence of the foreign substances,” Kato said at a news conference.
The Health Ministry said the 1.63 million doses “were produced in the same production line at the same time in Spain,” according to reports.
Kato said a portion of the doses distributed to 863 vaccination centers had already been used “but no health damages have been reported yet.”
“If people feel any abnormalities, they should talk to doctors,” the official said.
Takeda Pharmaceutical Co., a Japanese firm in charge of sales and distribution of the vaccine in the country, also said it has “yet to see any reports of safety concerns.”
Japan, a country of over 126 million, has administered more than 122 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines so far, with over 54 million people fully vaccinated.
The country is experiencing a new wave of infections driven by the highly contagious Delta variant, forcing the government to expand a state of emergency to 21 provinces.
Japan’s overall case count now stands at 1,362,813, including 15,737 deaths, according to the latest official data.