Japan has halted its Moderna Covid-19 vaccinations in Okinawa when foreign substances, such has rubber stoppers from the vaccine vials, were discovered, said the health ministry recently.
The probe was conducted by Takeda Pharmaceutical Co., which is responsible for the domestic supply of the Moderna vaccine. The Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare said there was no problem with the quality of the vaccine itself, and though the Okinawa Prefectural Government halted the programme after finding the foreign substances, the ministry said “there is no need to withhold” vaccinations.
According to the health ministry, foreign substances were found in a total of five vaccine-filled syringes. Since the contaminated vaccines were not among the lots the health ministry had requested local bodies to halt the use of, Okinawa Prefecture suspended vaccination at inoculation sites. No health hazards have been confirmed.
The health ministry says the needle on the syringe needs to be pierced perpendicularly to the vial’s rubber stopper, but it appears that part of the rubber stopper was scraped off and mixed into the vaccine as the needle was pierced at an angle. It had reportedly been confirmed that the vaccine in vials before needles were pierced into their rubber stoppers had been free of foreign substances.