TOKYO: Two people died after receiving Moderna COVID-19 vaccine shots that were among lots later suspended following the discovery of contaminants, Japan's health ministry said on Saturday (Aug 28).
The men aged 30 and 38 died this month within days of receiving their second Moderna doses, the ministry said in a release. Each had a shot from one of three manufacturing lots suspended on Thursday.
The ministry said the cause of death was still being investigated and "currently, causal relations with the vaccinations are unknown".
Both men contracted fever after receiving their vaccinations and neither had underlying health conditions or allergic history, the ministry said.
Japan halted the use of 1.63 million Moderna doses shipped to 863 vaccination centres nationwide, more than a week after the domestic distributor, Takeda Pharmaceutical, received reports of contaminants in some vials.
The government and Moderna had said no safety or efficacy issues had been identified and the suspension was just a precaution.
The contaminant is believed to be metallic particles, Japanese public broadcaster NHK reported, citing health ministry sources.
Around 44 per cent of Japan's population has been fully vaccinated, as the country battles a record surge of virus cases driven by the more contagious Delta variant.