Japan finds more contaminated Moderna vaccines

The Moderna vaccine is similar to Pfizer's in that it uses gene-therapy mRNA technology.

The Moderna vaccine is similar to Pfizer's in that it uses gene-therapy mRNA technology. Photo: Getty

Contaminants have been found in Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccines at a mass vaccination centre in Japan’s Okinawa prefecture just days after another fouled batch was blamed for two deaths.

Moderna is the same vaccine Health Minister Greg Hunt says he hopes to see being administered to Australian teenagers and young people before the end of the year.

The Okinawa vaccines are from different Moderna lots already banned by the Japanese government due to reports of contamination and the two confirmed deaths, NHK said on Sunday.

An unidentified black substance was spotted in syringes and a vial, while pink impurities were observed in a different syringe filled with vaccine at the Okinawa centre, NHK reported.

Takeda Pharmaceutical Co, the domestic distributor of the Moderna vaccines, is expected to investigate the possibility of contamination during production.

Japan halted the use of 1.63 million Moderna doses, shipped to 863 vaccination centres nationwide, more than a week after Takeda received reports of contaminants in some vials.

The two deaths attributed to the impure Moderna jabs came from one of three manufacturing lots suspended on Thursday.

Japan is battling its worst wave of infections, driven by the Delta variant, with new daily infections exceeding 25,000 this month for the first time.

The country has inoculated 54 per cent of its population with at least one dose and fully vaccinated 43 per cent, according to a Reuters vaccine tracker.


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