Japan quit Moderna vaccine over fears of contamination
The health ministry of Japan and drugmaker Takeda has terminated the use of 1.63 million doses of Moderna’s Covid vaccine after reports of contamination went viral.
Takeda is in charge of sales and distribution of the Moderna vaccine in Japan.
Takeda said it had “received reports from several vaccination centers that foreign substances have been found inside unopened vials”.
“Upon consultation with the health ministry, we have decided to suspend the use of the vaccine” it added.
The firm said it had further informed Moderna and “requested an urgent investigation”.
Moderna responded that the stated contaminations involved “one product lot distributed in Japan”.
“Moderna believes the manufacturing issue was generated in one of the lines used at its contract manufacturing site in Spain,” it added, saying so far “no safety or efficacy issues have been identified”.
“Out of an abundance of caution, Moderna has put this lot and two adjacent lots on hold,” it said, without stipulating the type of the contamination.
“We have not received reports of health problems stemming from the foreign object,” top government spokesman Katsunobu Kato told reporters.
“But we are asking people to consult their physicians if they experience any abnormality.”
According to Japanese national television, Impurities were seen in 39 unopened ampoules at eight vaccination locations in central Japan, including Tokyo.
Doses from a deferred batch had been managed between August 6 and 20 at its mass inoculation center in the western city of Osaka, stated the defense ministry.
Whereas staff visually check ampoules for impurities before vaccinating the formula, the ministry said.
The reported contagions are intricated in batches of Moderna doses prepared by Spanish pharma company Rovi, Moderna’s vaccine manufacturing partners outside the United States.
The Spanish health ministry said Rovi was “investigating the causes of these quality problems” under the supervision of Spain’s medicines agency AEMPS.
“All available information indicates that there are no other affected batches,” it added in a statement.
Japan’s health ministry said it would work with Takeda to secure substitute doses to evade disturbance to the country’s vaccine program, which has to speed up after a slow start.
Around 43 percent of Japan’s population has been fully inoculated, as the country fights a high flow of virus cases due to the more transmissible Delta variant.
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