A 49-year-old man has become the third person to die in Japan after receiving the Moderna vaccine from a contaminated batch.
According to The Guardian, the man had his second Moderna shot on August 11 and died the next day. Authorities were careful not to declare a causal link, while the health ministry said on Monday that his only known allergy was to buckwheat.
The shot came from the same batches that were found to have fragments of stainless steel in them, leading to a recall of 1.63m doses of the Moderna vaccine on 26 August. The three batches were manufactured in Spain under contract by Moderna.
The company has yet to comment on the most recent fatality, but last week issued a joint statement with local distributor Takeda Pharmaceutical, saying: “The rare presence of stainless steel particles in the Moderna Covid-19 vaccine does not pose an undue risk to patient safety and it does not adversely affect the benefit/risk profile of the product.” –The Guardian
The first two deaths were men in their 30s with no underlying health conditions, who died within days of receiving their second dose of the Moderna vaccine from batches tainted with a metallic substance that ‘reacts to magnets.’
Most of Japan uses the Pfizer vaccine, however at least 12.2 million doses of Moderna have been given country-wide, where 48% of the population is fully vaccinated, and at least 59% have received one shot.
Separately, in late August and early September, pieces of what was believed to be rubber fragments from vial stoppers which entered the vaccine liquid due to improperly inserted needles were found in Okinawa, Gunma and Kanagawa – however there were no health issues associated with those contaminated vials. According to the report, over 500,000 people have been injected with doses from all three tainted batches, according to Taro Kono, the minister in charge of the vaccine program.