Japan is investigating the deaths of two men who received doses from contaminated batches of the anticovid vaccine from the Moderna laboratory – the use of the batches has been suspended – the Ministry of Health said on Saturday.
The men, aged 30 and 38, died earlier this month after receiving the second dose of Moderna’s vaccine from one of three batches suspended by the government on Thursday. Authorities found that several vials were contaminated, the ministry said in a statement.
According to the ministry, the cause of death is still being investigated and “currently the causal relationships with vaccines are unknown.”
The two men had fever after receiving the vaccine and neither had comorbidities or a history of allergies, according to the ministry.
The suspension affects 1.63 million doses of Moderna’s vaccines, which were sent to more than 800 immunization centers in Japan.
Drugmaker Takeda, which is responsible for the sale and distribution of Moderna’s vaccine in Japan, said it had received reports from several vaccination centers that “foreign substances” were found inside unopened vials.
Nearly 44% of Japan’s population is fully vaccinated as the country struggles against a sharp rise in infections caused by the more contagious delta variant.
More than 15,700 people have died from covid-19 in the country and much of Japan is under restrictions.
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