Black Particles Found in Moderna Vaccine Less than a Week after Contaminated Batch was Suspended

Japan reported several black particles found in one Moderna vaccine vial in Gunma Prefecture upon checking for foreign substances before its use on Tuesday.

This new contamination report was the fourth incident in less than a week, only a few days after Japan suspended 1.63 million doses of Moderna shots in the country.

In Okinawa, authorities reported black substances found in syringes and a vial while pink material in a different syringe.

Local media reported there was no evidence so far of any health hazards caused by the potentially contaminated vaccine.

On Tuesday, Japan Health Minister Norihisa Tamura said that needles could have been incorrectly inserted into vials, breaking off bits of the rubber stopper, contaminating the vaccine.

Spanish pharmaceutical Rovi, the company that bottles the vaccine, said that the cause of contamination could have originated in a manufacturing line in Spain.

In Kanagawa prefecture, authorities said Takeda Pharmaceutical Co. Ltd. had collected the vial with a suspected contaminant, but already 3,790 people had been vaccinated from the same batch.

The health ministry and Takeda Pharmaceutical agreed there were no safety issues from the Okinawa and Gunma incidents, so the nationwide suspension was unnecessary.

Dr. Takahiro Kinoshita, vice hair of Cov-Navi, a vaccine information group, said it is unlikely that the contamination of foreign substances led directly to sudden deaths, referring to the reported deaths after Moderna vaccination.

“If the contaminated substances were dangerous enough to cause death for some people, probably many more people would have suffered from some symptoms after the vaccination,” Kinoshita told Reuters.

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