Moderna withholds 1.63 million Covid-19 vaccine doses in Japan due to contamination

Moderna withholds 1.63 million Covid-19 vaccine doses in Japan due to contamination

Vials with a sticker reading, “Covid-19 / Coronavirus vaccine / Injection only” and a medical syringe are seen in front of a displayed Moderna logo in this illustration taken on Oct 31, 2020.
Reuters file

Moderna Inc has withheld supply of about 1.63 million doses in Japan after it was notified of contamination of its Covid-19 vaccine vials with particulate matter, the US vaccine maker said on Wednesday (Aug 25).

The contamination, the company said, could be due to a manufacturing issue in one of the production lines at its contract manufacturing site in Spain.

The lot with complaints had 565,400 doses and “out of an abundance of caution” Moderna has put on hold the lot and two adjacent ones.

“To date, no safety or efficacy issues have been identified,” Moderna said, adding that it would work with its partner Takeda Pharmaceutical as well as the regulators to address the issue.

Takeda said it conducted an emergency examination after the particulate matter was found in a lot of vaccine vials at an inoculation site.

The health ministry said on early Thursday it decided to withdraw some doses as a precaution after consultation with Takeda but will strive to minimise the impact of the withdrawal on its inoculation plans.

Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga had said on Wednesday about 60 per cent of the public will be fully vaccinated by September end and that the country had enough vaccines to provide booster doses if such a decision is taken.

Nikkei first reported the news about the contaminated vials, citing the health ministry.

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