President Yoshihide Suga addressed the issue regarding the withdrawal of contaminated batches of Moderna Inc’s Covid-19 vaccine. Recently, 1.63 million doses of the Moderna vaccine were suspended due to contamination from a foreign object in one batch. However, Mr.President ensures that this setback will not affect the long-term goal of Japan’s vaccination.
“I have received a report from the health ministry saying that it will not have a big impact,” Suga answered. “I have instructed the health ministry that safety is the top priority.”Suga’s quest was to get almost 80% of the citizens vaccinated within early October, and even if they say it is not a big deal, this will indeed delay it to some degree.
According to the report from the Ministry of Health, that the contamination substance was seen in 39 vials with the lot number 3004667. These were present in eight workplaces and large-scale immunization sites in five prefectures, Aichi, Ibaraki, and Gifu. The ministry decided not to use the approximately 570,000 doses that had the lot number.
Similarly, after the Japanese government had talks with the distributor affiliated with Moderna Inc, Takeda Pharmaceutical Co, they concluded that they would suspend the vaccines with lot numbers 3004734 and 3004956 as a precaution. These vials were made around the same period and on the same production plant in Spain. The total number of suspended doses amount to 1.06 million doses.Some vials containing one of the three suspended lot numbers have been used before, but it is unclear if they include any of 39 vials containing the foreign substance. Moderna vaccine recipients can verify if they have received an affected vial by inspecting the lot number on their COVID-19 proof.
Takeda has assured that Moderna Inc is working with the health ministry to provide alternate vials to minimize the impact on inoculation rollout. According to Cabinet Office data, 42.6% had been fully vaccinated as of Tuesday.
These vials in question had reached up to 863 vaccination centers across the nation. Although the authorities have urged to stop using the specified lot numbers, some citizens have already got their shots. If you feel some discomfort or have some health problems right after getting your vaccine, you should seek medical help.
No Casualties from the Conataminated Vaccines till now
According to the Chief Cabinet Secretary Katsunobu Kato, on Thursday, up to now, there have been no reports of health problems from contaminated doses due to foreign materials from Moderna shots.
The government signed a contract to provide 50 million Moderna shots before September’s end. Japan has used 18 million Moderna doses already after the emergency approval in May. These are primarily at prefectures and mass inoculation centers. According to data from the Cabinet Office, this compares with the 104 million doses of Pfizer Inc. and the 1,093 AstraZeneca shots that were administered Tuesday. Japan has approved the use of Pfizer’s messenger-RNA vaccines and Moderna for people aged 12 and over.
Takeda stated that Moderna is investigating the matter. According to Kyodo News, the foreign substances are estimated to be only a few millimeters in size, and their exact nature is unknown. Pieces of rubber contaminated the vaccines abroad, according to media reports.
Moderna Investigating the issue intenally
According to the report from Kyodo News Agency, “To date, no safety or efficacy issues have been identified.” and the US firm has been “carefully assessing this matter and at this point does not have further comments on root causes.”
Thursday’s statement by the Defense Ministry stated that Moderna vials usage has halted. The Defense Ministry confirmed the use of affected doses in inoculations at Osaka’s Self-Defense Forces-run mass vaccination center. This was between Aug. 6th and 20. The center checked vials for abnormalities and reported no safety incidents.