Japan reports another case of Moderna vaccine contamination from Spain
Japan has reported another case of contamination in a batch of Moderna COVID-19 vaccines imported from Spain.
A pharmacist had reported several black particles in a vaccine vial in Kanagawa, south of Tokyo.
The discovery comes just a week after the Japanese government decided to block more than 1.6 million doses of Moderna vaccine over fears of contamination.
Moderna confirmed on Wednesday that “steel particles” had been found in some vials of the vaccine.
But the anomaly does not present a health risk, according to a joint statement from the pharmaceutical company and Takeda, the Japanese distributor of the vaccines.
Takeda says the traces would come from “a device in the production line” and “do not pose an undue risk from a medical point of view.”
Rovi, a Spanish company that produces and packages the vaccine for the Japanese market, also participated in the investigation.
According to the statement, it is “very likely” that the steel particles occurred during a technical failure in the production line that affected three batches of Moderna vaccines.
Moderna and Takeda added that if small particles of steel were injected into a muscle, “a local reaction may occur, but it is unlikely to cause other adverse effects.”
Japanese authorities are also investigating the deaths of two people vaccinated with one of the three batches before their recall.
Takeda and Moderna said there was “no evidence” at this point that the deaths could have been caused by the vaccines, but stressed the importance of a formal investigation into the matter.
Japan has relied entirely on overseas-developed vaccines produced by Moderna, Pfizer and AstraZeneca to inoculate its population against the coronavirus.