Corona vaccines from the American pharmaceutical company Moderna in Japan may have been contaminated with a metal powder. The Japanese broadcaster NHK reports this based on sources within the Ministry of Health.
Japan has already recalled 1.6 million doses of the Moderna vaccine but has so far reported no health problems.
Japan recalled more than 1.6 million doses of the Moderna vaccine on Thursday after reports of contaminants with a ‘foreign matter’. These would be tiny metal particles, according to the Japanese public broadcaster NHK, citing sources within the Japanese Ministry of Health.
The pollution is said to result from a production error at the Spanish factory Rovi, where Moderna has its vaccines produced that are not destined for the United States. The Spanish company is now looking at what exactly went wrong. In a statement, Rovi already said that it concerns one production line, which is exclusively destined for Japan. As a precaution, the company already stopped the relevant production line and two others for distribution.
According to Moderna, the “dust particles” do not influence the safety and effectiveness of the vaccine. So far, there have been no reports of health complaints or employment problems in Japan, the local authorities report. Moderna will look at how the contamination could have arisen, and the vaccine manufacturer told Reuters news agency. The European Medicines Agency (EMA) wants to check whether contaminated vaccines have also ended up in Europe.
Meanwhile, the Japanese Ministry of Health will try to minimize the consequences of the vaccination campaign in the country. However, the ministry did cancel several vaccination moments in Japanese companies.
The country is currently suffering from a new wave of infections due to the advancing delta variant. The government reported nearly 25,000 new infections on Thursday. Every week, more than 3,000 ambulances are refused entry to hospitals, which are overcrowded. The willingness to vaccinate is remarkably low in Japan, especially among young people.