Most of the foreign materials in Moderna Inc. COVID-19 vaccine found in Okinawa Prefecture are believed to be fragments of rubber stoppers from vials, the health ministry said Sunday.
There should be no problem with the quality of the batch of Moderna vaccine in question, the ministry also said.
The substances were found inside a vial and four syringes during work to transfer vaccine from vials to syringes between Friday and Saturday in Japan’s southernmost prefecture.
The vial and three syringes contained black substances, while the remaining syringe contained a pink substance.
Takeda Pharmaceutical Co., the distributor of the vaccine in Japan, has confirmed that none of the vials related to the problem contained foreign materials before the work, according to the ministry.
It is very likely that fragments of rubber stoppers were scraped off when needles were stuck through the stoppers during the work, the ministry said regarding the black substances.
This problem, which tends to happen when needles are not stuck through appropriately, was seen also with Pfizer Inc.’s coronavirus vaccine.
The health ministry had issued a warning about the problem.
As for the pink substance, the ministry said the object was too large to pass through the hole of the needle, meaning that the substance had existed in the syringe before the transfer, not in the vial.
Regarding Moderna’s vaccine, foreign substances believed to be metal fragments from a batch made in Spain were found in vials at vaccination sites across Japan.
The ministry has stopped the use of the batch, along with two others made in the same production line in the same period. The combined amounts total 1.63 million doses.
The batch of vaccine at the center of Okinawa’s problem was produced in a different line.
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