Japan and Moderna said that no safety or efficacy issues had been identified and that the suspension was just a precaution. But the move prompted Japanese companies to cancel worker vaccinations planned for Thursday.
Moderna said in a statement , “Moderna confirms having been notified of cases of particulate matter being seen in drug product vials of its Covid-19 vaccine,”.
A Health ministry official said Takeda first found out about the contaminated vials on Aug. 16 and reported the issue to the government on Wednesday. The delay was because Takeda needed time to gather information on which vials were affected and where they were in the country, the official said.
Japan’s Takeda Pharmaceutical, which distributes the vaccine in the country reffering to , “The company is investigating the reports and remains committed to working expeditiously with its partner, Takeda, and regulators to address this” .
Moderna said the contamination could be due to a manufacturing issue in one of the production at its contract manufacturing site in Spain.
Spanish pharma company Rovi, which bottles or “fills and finishes” Moderna vaccines for markets other than the United States, said it is investigating possible contamination of Moderna doses and the issue appeared to be limited to a few batches bound for Japan.
A day earlier, he said about 60% of the public will be fully vaccinated by the end of September and the country had enough vaccines to provide booster doses if such a decision is taken. Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga said on Thursday the country’s inoculation plan would be little affected by the issue.
The suspension is a fresh setback for Moderna, whose partners had production delays last month that disrupted supplies to countries, including South Korea.
Takeda said it conducted an emergency examination after particulate matter was found in a lot of vaccine vials at an inoculation site.
Japan is battling its worst wave of infections, driven by the Delta variant, with new daily infections exceeding 25,000 for the first time this month. It has inoculated 54% of its population with at least one dose and fully vaccinated 43%, according to a Reuters vaccine tracker.