Japan will stop the use of 1.63 million doses of Moderna’s COVID vaccine after reports of contamination.
Drugmaker Takeda, which is in charge of sales and distribution of the Moderna shot in Japan, said it had “received reports from several vaccination centers that foreign substances have been found inside unopened vials.”
They further said that “Upon consultation with the health ministry, we have decided to suspend the use of the vaccine.”
The firm said it had informed Moderna and “requested an urgent investigation.”
Takeda did not detail the nature of the contamination but said it had not so far received any reports of health concerns arising from affected doses.
Contaminants were seen in 39 unopened vials at eight vaccination locations in central Japan, including Tokyo
According to Government spokesman Katsunobu Kato, there have been no reports of health problems stemming from the foreign object.
“But we are asking people to consult their physicians if they experience any abnormality,” he added.
Kato said there had been no “concrete reports” that doses confirmed to contain contaminants had been administered.
The health ministry said it would work with Takeda to secure alternative doses to avoid disruption to the country’s vaccine program, which has ramped up after a slow start.
Takeda Pharmaceutical declined to elaborate details, citing Moderna’s investigation. But a company spokesman said the firm encouraged the public to seek vaccine shots.
Around 43 percent of Japan’s population has been fully vaccinated, as the country battles a record surge of virus cases driven by the more contagious Delta variant.