Japan has halted the use of the Moderna Covid-19 vaccine following reports of contamination in several vials, according to its health ministry and drugmaker Takeda Pharmaceuticals.
Takeda said that it received reports from several vaccination centres of foreign substances inside certain unopened vials of the Moderna vaccine.
The nature of the contamination was not detailed by Takeda but it has not yet received any reports of health concerns arising from affected doses.
One of the three batches is understood to have been contaminated, however, all three batches were suspended as a precaution, with Moderna being informed about the contamination and an urgent investigation being requested.
It’s understood that 39 unopened vials of the vaccine were contaminated at eight vaccination centres in central Japan.
According to the defence ministry, doses from the suspended batch had been administered between the 6th and 20th of August.
However, it has been noted that staff check the vials for possible contamination before administering the vaccine.
The health ministry will be working with Takeda to secure alternative doses to prevent disruption to the vaccine rollout.