Japan has suspended the use of around 1.63 million doses of the Moderna vaccine due to contamination, which the health ministry confirmed resulted from “foreign materials” in an unused batch of roughly 560,000 vials, according to BBC reports.
According to the news site, Takeda Pharmaceutical, which sells and distributes the vaccine in Japan, said Moderna had put three batches on hold “out of an abundance of caution”. The company has said an issue at a manufacturing site in Spain was the probably the cause, but did not elaborate.
According to the BBC, Moderna said: “To date, no safety or efficacy issues have been identified,” Moderna said, adding that it would work with regulators and Takeda to investigate the matter further.
It also reported that there have been no details of what the “foreign materials” are, but Takeda described it as particulate matter.
Reports of contamination also came from seven other vaccination centres, according to the Japan Times newspaper, with 39 vials – or 390 doses – found to have been affected.
The health ministry has published the batch numbers so that those vaccinated can check if they have got a potentially contaminated shot, the Japan Times added.
According to ITV News in the UK, the suspension raises concerns of a supply shortage as the country tries to accelerate vaccinations amid the current surge in Covid cases within the country.
ITV reports that officials have said that while some contaminated doses might have been administered, no adverse health effects have been reported so far.
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