Tokyo, Sep 7 (EFE).- Japan is investigating the death of a third person who was administered Moderna’s Covid-19 vaccine from one of three suspended vaccine batches to determine whether it was linked to the vaccination.
The deceased is a 49-year-old male who died in August after being administered a Moderna shot from one of the three lots whose use was suspended after contamination was detected in them.
The deaths of another two other people, aged 30 and 38 years, who also died after receiving the vaccine, continue to be investigated, a health ministry spokesperson told EFE on Tuesday.
The 49-year-old man received his second dose on Aug. 11 and died the next morning, according to data from the ministry, which was notified of the case by his company on Sep. 4.
The ministry said that no foreign substances were seen by the naked eye in the vials used on these occasions and it is currently unknown whether there is a link between the deaths and the injections.
Moderna and its distribution partner in Japan, pharmaceutical company Takeda, announced last week that the contamination detected in the vials were stainless steel particles due to a technical failure in the production line of its Spanish supplier, Rovi, and said that the contaminated vials were not expected to pose a serious medical risk.
In the statement announcing the third death, the ministry said that since the material detected is used in medical equipment, such as heart valves, joint replacement and surgical sutures and staples, it was considered unlikely to affect the body if it were to enter it.
The ministry added that it will continue gathering information on the case and evaluating it.
“Takeda and Moderna are working with the MHLW to investigate these deaths and the investigation is being conducted with the greatest sense of urgency, transparency and integrity,” the pharmaceutical companies said in a statement on Tuesday.
“There is no indication that any of the deaths following administration of the Moderna Covid-19 vaccine were in any way related to administration of the vaccine. At this point, there is also no reason to believe that the vaccine poses any health hazard or undue safety risk,” they added.
Contaminating particles were observed in 39 vials (390 doses), but the health ministry decided to block three batches (3004667, 3004734 and 3004956) including 1.63 million doses produced at the same time and in the same Rovi plant as a precautionary measure.
Around half a million people have been vaccinated in Japan with doses from the suspended batches, all of them from the same production plant of the Spanish pharmaceutical company Rovi, the main supplier of the Moderna vaccine in the Asian country.
The Japanese ministry has been reporting all deaths of vaccinated people in order to provide transparency on its system of monitoring the safety of Covid-19 drugs.
Japan has recorded 991 deaths in people who were administered the Pfizer vaccine and another 11 in people vaccinated with the Moderna shot as of Aug. 25, according to the most recent health ministry data available.
The Asian country has administered more than 135 million Covid-19 vaccine doses.
While 75 million people have received one dose, 60 million have been fully vaccinated, representing 59.3 percent and 47.9 percent of the population, respectively. EFE