Black particles found in Moderna vaccine vial in Japan, forcing region to put shots from the batch on hold

·2 min read
moderna vaccine
A container of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine is seen at the United Memorial Medical Center on December 21, 2020 in Houston, Texas. Getty Images/Go Nakamura
  • Black particles were reportedly discovered in a COVID-19 Moderna vaccine vial in Japan.

  • As a result, Kanagawa prefecture has paused administering a batch of the rest of the shots, BBC and Reuters reported.

  • The incident comes after Japan another batch of 1.63 million doses were pulled last week.

  • See more stories on Insider's business page.

Black particles were discovered in a COVID-19 Moderna vaccine vial in Japan, prompting a region to pause administering a batch of the shots, reports said.

A pharmacist in Kanagawa prefecture found several black particles in the vaccine vial on Tuesday while it was being checked out for foreign substances before use, the BBC and Reuters reported.

About 3,790 people already received vaccine jabs from the same batch before the rest of it was put on hold, the reports said.

The incident is being investigated by the vaccine's domestic distributor, Takeda Pharmaceutical, which collected the apparently contaminated vial.

There was no immediate evidence of health hazards caused by the potentially contaminated vaccine, the BBC reported, citing local reports.

Takeda Pharmaceutical and Moderna did not immediately return requests for comment by Insider on Wednesday.

The incident comes after Japan suspended the use of about 1.63 million doses last week after reports of "foreign substances" were found in vials. Japan's health minister said on Tuesday that a batch in Okinawa was contaminated after needles were incorrectly inserted into the vials, according to the BBC.

The possible contamination could have been caused by a manufacturing issue at Moderna's manufacturing site in Madrid operated by Rovi, the company previously said.

Meanwhile, Japan's health ministry said Wednesday that the potentially contaminated vaccine vial in Kanagawa was from a different batch than the others. The health ministry added that rubber stopper material seems to have made its way into it amid the manufacturing process, Reuters reported.

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