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Japan Halts Use Of 1.63 Million Moderna Vaccine Doses Over Contamination Fears

Photo by STANISLAV KOGIKU/POOL/AFP via Getty Images

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Ailan Evans Tech Reporter
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Japan paused the use of roughly 1.63 million Moderna vaccine doses Thursday over fears of contamination in unused vials.

Japan’s Ministry of Health, Labor, and Welfare made the decision following contamination reports from multiple COVID-19 vaccination sites, the Associated Press reported. Takeda Pharmaceutical, the Japanese company distributing the vaccine, suspended all doses manufactured in the production line where the contamination occurred.

Takeda received reports of foreign matter in dozens of vaccine vials and notified health officials, CNBC reported.

“We requested that Moderna, the product owner and manufacturer, conduct a thorough investigation to determine the precise root cause of the issue,” the company said, according to CNBC.

Some vaccination sites did administer contaminated doses, according to CNBC. There have been no reports of “ill effects” stemming from the contaminated doses, the publication reported.

A doctor prepares a Moderna vaccine Covid-19 for an inhabitant of the "Home for the Elderly Kamenec" in Ostrava, Czech Republic, on January 14, 2021.(Photo by RADEK MICA/AFP via Getty Images)

A doctor prepares a Moderna Covid-19 vaccine for an inhabitant of the “Home for the Elderly Kamenec” in Ostrava, Czech Republic, on January 14, 2021. (Photo by RADEK MICA/AFP via Getty Images)

Takeda also said it was unaware of any “significant safety concerns” resulting from the contaminated doses, according to CNBC. (RELATED: Johnson & Johnson To Pull Several Sunscreens Over Cancer-Causing Chemicals)

European health officials are investigating the Spanish production site of the contaminated vials, according to the AP.

“EMA is investigating the matter and has requested the marketing authorization holder to provide information on any potential impact on batches supplied to the EU in addition to details on the ongoing root cause investigation,” the European Medicines Agency told Reuters.

Moderna is aware of the issue and said it is looking into the problem.

“The company is investigating the reports and remains committed to working expeditiously with its partner, Takeda, and regulators to address this,” Moderna wrote in a statement.

The Japanese Ministry of Health, Labor, and Welfare did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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Ailan Evans

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