Japan reports two deaths from contaminated COVID vaccine doses

The Japanese Ministry of Health announced that two men in their thirties died within days of receiving their second Moderna dose.

Adam Dobrer Vancouver

The Japanese Ministry of Health announced that two men in their thirties died within days of receiving their second Moderna dose from one of three manufacturing lots suspended Thursday in the island nation. The precise cause of death is under investigation.

The decision to halt the use of 1.63 million Moderna doses shipped to over eight hundred vaccination centres across the country comes more than a week after a domestic distributor, Takeda Pharmaceutical Co., first received reports of 'contaminants' in some vials, reported CTV News.

According to Japanese public broadcaster NHK, the contaminants found in some vials are metallic particles, citing unnamed sources in the Japanese health ministry.

"At this time, we do not have any evidence that the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine causes these deaths," Moderna and Takeda said in a statement to Reuters on Saturday. "It is important to conduct a formal investigation to determine whether [or not] there is any connection."

In both fatalities reported Saturday, the two men reportedly experienced a fever within twenty-four hours of administering the second dose. Both passed away two days later. So far, there is no evidence that their specific doses contained contaminants, a health ministry official told media at a briefing on Saturday.

After a slow vaccine rollout due to procurement issues, Japan has administered more than 124 million COVID-19 shots, with roughly 44 percent of its population fully vaccinated.





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