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Fourth batch of Moderna Covid vaccines found contaminated in Japan, setback for US pharma giant

Fourth batch of Moderna Covid vaccines found contaminated in Japan, setback for US pharma giant

Another batch of Moderna Covid-19 vaccine doses in Japan have turned out to be contaminated in a major setback to the image of the US pharma giant. 

According to local media reports, the Okinawa region in southern Japan has stopped administering the vaccine on Sunday because foreign particles were seen in some of the vials.

"We are suspending the use of Moderna's Covid-19 vaccines as foreign substances were spotted in some of them," the Okinawa authorities said in a press statement.

The Moderna lots in which the contamination was spotted in Okinawa on Saturday are different from the three batches of 1.63 million doses suspended earlier, local media reports said.

The development comes merely a day after the Japanese health ministry said it was investigating the death of two men who were administered vaccine doses from Moderna batches that were found to be contaminated, according to Japanese news broadcaster NHK .

Also read:  Two die in Japan after getting Moderna vaccine shots from contaminated lot

Each of these persons had a shot from one of three manufacturing lots suspended on Thursday. Both the persons had fever the day after their second dose and died two days later.

The contaminants found in some vials in Japan are believed to be metallic particles, public broadcaster NHK reported, citing health ministry sources.

Takeda, the Japanese company that distributes the vaccine in the country, detected the contaminants on August 16, but informed the government after a week on Wednesday which means several more people must have got the shots from the contaminated lot. 

Takeda informed the government that the 7-day delay occurred as it needed time to gather information on which vials were affected and where they were in the country.