Contaminated COVID vaccines suspected to have caused the deaths of 2 men in Japan

Japan’s Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare has today confirmed that two men have died around 48 hours after receiving their second Moderna doses from vials that were among batches later suspended following the discovery of contaminants.

The contaminants are reported to have been metallic particles.

The two deceased were aged in their 30’s. Both had fevers the day after receiving their doses according to the Ministry. The official Government press release on the matter can be found here.

The tragic news comes just days after the Ministry revealed it was scrabbling to stop the use of 1.63 million Moderna doses shipped to 863 vaccination centres across Japan, after distributor, Takeda Pharmaceutical, received reports of contaminants in some vials.

Despite the similar circumstances, Moderna and Takeda said there is currently no definitive evidence that the two deaths in question were in fact caused by Moderna vaccinations.

“It is important to conduct a formal investigation to determine whether there is any connection,” the companies said in a statement on Saturday.

Infection control manager at St. Luke’s International Hospital in Tokyo, Fumie Sakamoto, also told Reuters more information will need to be obtained before an explicit cause of death can be ascertained.

“There may only be a temporal relationship between vaccination and death,” Sakamoto told Reuters. “There are so many things we still don’t know to make any conclusions on these two cases,” said Mr Sakamoto.

Around 44% of Japan’s population is now fully vaccinated.