Moderna withholds 1.63 mln COVID-19 vaccine doses in Japan due to contamination

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August 26, 2021 9:11 AM

"Moderna confirms having been notified of cases of particulate matter being seen in drug product vials of its COVID-19 vaccine," it said in a statement.

moderna vaccinesThe vaccine lot with complaints had 565,400 doses and Moderna said that "out of an abundance of caution" it had put the lot on hold and two adjacent ones. (Photo source: Reuters)

Moderna Inc said on Wednesday it has withheld supply of about 1.63 million doses of its COVID-19 vaccine in Japan after a report of contamination of vials with particulate matter, which it suspects involves a production line in Spain. While Moderna said no safety or efficacy issues had been identified, the suspension is a fresh setback for the firm whose partners had production delays last month that disrupted supply to countries, including South Korea.”Moderna confirms having been notified of cases of particulate matter being seen in drug product vials of its COVID-19 vaccine,” it said in a statement.

“The company is investigating the reports and remains committed to working expeditiously with its partner, Takeda, and regulators to address this,” it added, referring to Japan’s Takeda Pharmaceutical.

It said the contamination could be due to a manufacturing issue in one of the production lines at its contract manufacturing site in Spain.It was not immediately clear whether the issue impacted supplies to other countries. Moderna did not immediately respond to a Reuters’ request for comment. Spain’s Rovi, which bottles or “fills and finishes” Moderna vaccines for markets other than the United States, was not immediately available to comment.The vaccine lot with complaints had 565,400 doses and Moderna said that “out of an abundance of caution” it had put the lot on hold and two adjacent ones. Takeda said it conducted an emergency examination after particulate matter was found in a lot of vaccine vials at an inoculation site in Japan.

Japan’s health ministry said on Thursday had it decided to withdraw some doses as a precaution after consultation with Takeda but will strive to minimize the impact of the withdrawal on its inoculation plans.

Kyodo news agency reported Japanese carrier ANA had cancelled Moderna COVID-19 vaccination for its employees on Thursday.

Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga said on Wednesday that about 60% of the public will be fully vaccinated by end September and that the country had enough vaccines to provide booster doses if such a decision is taken.Nikkei first reported the news about the contaminated vials, citing the health ministry.

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