Japan : Moderna shots on hold as contamination is inspected
Japan’s Health Ministry has withdrawn 1.6 million Moderna vaccines from its rollout after foreign substances were detected in some vials. It is also investigating why two men died soon after receiving the vaccine from the suspended batches.
Health ministry officials say the particles are likely metal as they are attracted to a magnet, and probably entered the vials during the manufacturing process at a Spanish factory.
The ministry identified three batches of vaccines that may be tainted.Vaccines from those batches have been distributed to more than 880 vaccination sites across Japan. More than 500,000 have already been used.
A tiny black substance was found in a Moderna vaccine vial in Gunma, an official from the prefecture said, while in Okinawa, black substances were spotted in syringes and a vial, and pink material was found in a different syringe.
Around 44 percent of Japan’s population has been fully vaccinated, as the country battles a record surge of coronavirus cases driven by the more contagious Delta variant. More than 15,800 people have died from Covid-19 in Japan, and large parts of the country are under strict virus restrictions.