“The two victims were men in their 30s who died this month within days of receiving the second dose of the Moderna vaccine,” Japan’s Ministry of Health said in a release. Strait Times, Saturday (28/9/2021).
Each of the victims was found to have received the vaccine from one of the three manufacturers suspended last Thursday. Their cause of death is still being investigated.
Japan stopped using 1.63 million doses of Moderna vaccine which was sent to 863 vaccination centers nationwide. It comes more than a week after domestic distributor, Takeda Pharmaceutical, received reports of contaminants in some bottles.
The Japanese government and Moderna said no safety or efficacy concerns had been identified and the suspension was only a precautionary measure.
Japanese media NHK reported the contaminants were believed to be metal particles, citing a health ministry source.
Moderna’s vaccine issue comes just as Japan is battling surging infection cases, with new cases daily hitting new highs in many parts of the country and weighing heavily on the health care system.
Japan relies entirely on vaccines developed overseas by Moderna, as well as Pfizer and AstraZeneca. Moderna has been present since mid-June at large-scale centers and workplace inoculations and has helped accelerate the rollout of vaccinations in Japan.
About 43% of the Japanese population has been fully vaccinated, with a daily dose of about 1 million.