Two Dead After Receiving Contaminated Moderna COVID-19 Vaccines & Japan Pulls Another 1-Million Doses From Circulation

After receiving the COVID-19 vaccine from a batch of Moderna vaccines that were suspected to have contaminants, two people in Japan died. Meanwhile, another one million doses have been temporarily suspended in Japan.

After receiving the COVID-19 vaccine from a batch of Moderna vaccines that were suspected to have contaminants, two people in Japan died, according to an Aug. 29, 2021 article in CNN. These individuals received vaccines from lot 3004734, which was removed from circulation on August 26, 2021 along with approximately 1.63 million doses.

To date, there is no causal link between the vaccine and deaths, according to the same article in CNN. The individuals were men, ages 30 and 38, according to a report from Japan Times on Aug. 28, 2021, and both had received two doses of the vaccine.

In response to these deaths and the discovery of foreign substances in additional batches of the COVID-19 vaccine, another one million doses have been temporarily suspended in Japan, according to an Aug. 30, 2021 article in Reuters.

In the Gunma prefecture near Tokyo, a tiny black substance was found in a Moderna vaccine vial while black and pink substances were found in vials in Okinawa. Some instances of vial contaminants were suspected to be a result of needles being incorrectly inserted into vials, as stated in the Aug. 30, 2021 article in Reuters, but Japan's health ministry said other vials from the lots can be used.

According to an Aug. 31, 2021 article in Reuters, Japan's health minister said the foreign matter found in the Moderna COVID-19 vaccines in Okinawa likely happened when needles were stuck into the vials. Specifically, the health ministry believes needles may have been incorrectly inserted into vials, which broke off bits of the rubber stopper. The same article reports that Japan is currently facing its biggest wave of COVID-19 infections, largely driven by the Delta variant.

Sources: CNN, Reuters (August 30, 2021, August 31, 2021), Japan Times