Japanese Health Ministry announced to suspend the use of 1.63 million doses of Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine earlier today, more than a week after it was reported that some vials of the vaccine contained contaminants.
Acknowledging the development, Moderna said no safety or efficacy issues have been reported and the move by Japanese authorities is only precautionary.
The US-based vaccine manufacturer clarified that it is investigating the matter and has already ordered to place the three batches in question on hold, adding that it remains committed to working with its partner Takeda, Moderna’s distributor in Japan, and Japanese authorities.
Takeda first found about the contaminated vials on 16 August and reported it to the Japanese Health Ministry on 18 August. The two-day delay was caused because Takeda was determining which vials were contaminated and where they were in the country.
On the other hand, Moderna said the contamination most likely resulted from a fault in a production line at a manufacturing facility managed by its partner Rovi in Spain.
Rovi, which manufactures Moderna’s vaccine for countries other than the US, said that it is also investigating the issue which is only limited to three batches meant for Japan.