The use of Moderna’s Covid-19 vaccination in Japan’s Okinawa region was halted on Sunday after additional contamination was discovered, according to the local administration.
It comes just a day after Japan’s health ministry announced that it was looking into the deaths of two individuals who received shots from tainted Moderna batches, albeit the reason of their deaths is unknown.
The vaccination campaign in Okinawa, in southern Japan, has been temporarily postponed, according to the prefecture.
“We have suspended the use of Moderna’s Covid-19 vaccinations due to the discovery of foreign chemicals in certain of them,” the company said in a statement.
According to local media sources, the lots affected by the contamination discovered in Okinawa on Saturday are distinct from the 1.63 doses halted following the two deaths.
Two males, ages 30 and 38, died in early August after receiving their second Moderna doses, according to the health ministry.
Those doses came from one of three batches that the FDA halted on Thursday after several vials were discovered to be tainted.
However, the ministry stated that it was researching the cause of death and that it is presently uncertain whether there is a causative link to the vaccine.
“At this moment, we have no proof that these deaths are caused by the Moderna COVID-19 vaccination,” Moderna and its Japanese distributor Takeda said in a joint statement on Saturday. “It is vital to conduct a formal inquiry to discover whether there is any relationship.”
The nature of the particles discovered in the vials, which were made in Europe by a Moderna contractor, is likewise unknown.
“The vials have been sent to a qualified lab for analysis,” Moderna and Takeda said. “The initial findings will be available early next week.”
The contractor, ROVI, a Spanish pharmaceutical company, issued a statement on Thursday saying it was looking into the cause of the contamination in the batch, which was only supplied in Japan.
It went on to say that the problem could have started on one of its production lines.
As the country confronts a record spike of coronavirus illnesses caused by the more dangerous Delta type, around 44% of Japan’s population has been properly vaccinated.
Covid-19 has killed over 15,800 individuals in Japan, and vast swaths of the country are under stringent viral restrictions.