Kanagawa Prefecture in Japan put a batch of Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine on hold after a pharmacist found foreign matter in one of the vials.
The story: Japanese authorities reported that a pharmacist looked at the vial before administering the shot and saw several black particles.
The vaccine’s domestic distributor, Takeda Pharmaceutical Co Ltd, collected the vial with the suspected contaminant and the Japanese government put the rest of the batch on hold as they investigate the case.
About 3,790 people had already received the shot.
The big picture: Just last week, Japan halted the use of 1.63 million doses of the Moderna vaccine due to a separate contamination issue. Moderna and the pharmaceutical company that bottles their vaccines, Rovi, indicated that the contamination may have occurred while the vaccine was being manufactured.
Then over the weekend, two regions in Japan put temporary holds on Moderna vaccines following yet another discovery of a foreign substance. A pharmacist in one of the regions noticed a black substance in a vial, while a pharmacist in the other region found a black substance in syringes and a vial, along with a pink substance in a separate syringe.
Worth noting: Japan’s health minister said that the contamination over the weekend was the result of rubber stoppers breaking off into the vials when needles were incorrectly inserted.
“Whatever the reason, we have heard that there is no safety or other issues,” said health minister Norihisa Tamura. He also noted that it was not uncommon for foreign material to enter a vial with other vaccines.
“We will continue to gather information and report back,” he added.
Japan is currently in a state of emergency as COVID-19 infection rates soar due to the highly contagious delta variant.
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