According to the local administrations, two Japanese areas halted the use of certain Moderna Covid-19 injections on Sunday after further incidents of contamination were discovered.
The announcement came a day after the Japanese health ministry announced that it was looking into the deaths of two individuals who received dosages from other contaminated Moderna batches — but the cause of death remains unknown.
Okinawa prefecture in southern Japan said it had halted the use of Moderna shots at a major immunization site in Naha, while Gunma prefecture, north of Tokyo, said it had also halted the use of tainted lots.
“We are halting the use of Moderna Covid-19 vaccinations due to the presence of foreign substances,” Okinawa officials stated in a statement.
An official in Gunma told AFP, “We continue to use Moderna lots that are not touched by the event.”
The contamination in Okinawa and Gunma comes after the suspension of 1.63 million doses across Japan on Thursday, following the deaths of two men aged 30 and 38 in August after receiving their second Moderna dosage.
Those pills were from one of the three batches that the FDA halted on Thursday.
However, Japan’s health ministry stated that it is examining the cause of death and that it is uncertain whether there is a connection link with the vaccination.
“At this point, we have no proof that these deaths were caused by the Moderna Covid-19 vaccine, and it is critical that a thorough investigation be conducted to establish whether there is any connection,” Moderna and its Japanese distributor Takeda said in a joint statement on Saturday.
The nature of the particles discovered in the vials, which were made by a Moderna contractor in Europe, is likewise unknown at this time.
“The vials have been submitted to a certified facility for examination, and preliminary results will be ready early next week,” stated Moderna and Takeda.
ROVI, a Spanish pharmaceutical business, said in a statement Thursday that it was examining the cause of the contamination and that the dosages were exclusively delivered in Japan.
It went on to say that the problem might have started on one of its production lines.
As the country faces a record increase of coronavirus infections caused by the more infectious Delta strain, around 44 percent of Japan’s population has been completely vaccinated.
In Japan, more than 15,800 individuals have died as a result of Covid-19, and vast areas of the country are under tight viral restrictions.
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