Covid-19 vaccine update
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Japan’s Ministry of Health and Welfare is investigating the death of two men in their 30s after receiving Moderna’s Covid-19 injections, which were one of the subsequent supplies pause Due to the risk of contamination.
According to a statement from the Ministry of Health last weekend, the two people without any underlying diseases died within three days after receiving the second Moderna injection earlier this month.
There is no evidence that the death was caused by the vaccine, but the ministry said it decided to disclose the cases to increase transparency.
Japanese Minister of Health Norihisa Tamura said in a television program on Sunday: “We are still investigating the cause, but we need to take preventive measures. We hope to disclose the information to the public as soon as we find it.”
Last week, Japan decided to withhold 1.63 million doses of Moderna’s Covid-19 vaccine, after several vaccination centers reported that the vaccine bottles contained foreign bodies.
Officials said they have not found any safety or effectiveness issues, and Moderna said the decision to suspend was “out of prudent consideration.”
Three production batches were suspended, one of which contained contaminants, and the other two adjacent batches were produced at the same location during the same period. The two men received a second jab from an adjacent lot.
in a Joint Statement, Moderna and its Japanese distribution partner Takeda Pharmaceutical stated that they take the death seriously.
“At the moment, we have no evidence that these deaths were caused by the Moderna Covid-19 vaccine, and it is important to conduct a formal investigation to determine if there is any connection,” they said.
The Spanish pharmaceutical company Rovi, which is cooperating with Moderna to produce Covid-19 vaccine at a factory near Madrid, said the suspected contamination may be due to “Making accidents” In one of its production lines. It added that the contamination affected certain vials of a batch of products that were exclusively distributed in Japan.
The national broadcaster NHK recently quoted an unofficial report from an official from the Ministry of Health and Welfare of Japan that the source of pollution may be metal particles. However, Moderna and Takeda said that such reports are inconclusive: “It is important to rely on formal investigations before determining the exact nature of the particles.”
Also at the weekend, Japanese media reported that a Moderna vaccine containing foreign matter was also found at a vaccination center in the southern island of Okinawa, which was not part of the three suspended batches. Officials from the Okinawa prefectural government did not immediately comment.
At the time of the pollution incident, Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga promised to strengthen the country’s vaccination program to prevent a record increase in Covid-19 cases.
Despite a slow start, Japan has now received 124 million doses of the coronavirus vaccine, and approximately 43% of the population has been vaccinated.
According to the Ministry of Health, as of August 8, 9,002 people died after being vaccinated with Covid-19, 11 of whom died after Moderna injection, but the causal relationship is unclear.