Japan has been facing a contamination crisis as over a million doses of the Moderna vaccine had to be discarded after black particles were discovered in the vials. Last month, it was reported that two men in their 30s died a few days after getting their second jab. Authorities are still investigating the possible link between the two deaths and contamination, but meanwhile a third death has been uncovered.
The Guardian reported that a 49-year-old man passed away a day after receiving his second jab on 11 August. All three men had no underlying health issues, but the third was allergic to buckwheat.
Last week, Moderna and the local distributing company, Takeda Pharmaceuticals, said that the mysterious particles found in the vaccine were stainless steel particles. In an earlier press release, they assured the public that stainless steel should not normally cause any problems given that they have been ‘routinely used in heart valves, joint replacements, and metal sutures and staples.’ However, in a statement published on 7 September, they said:
Based on the medical and safety assessments carried out by the Company and Moderna, it is not considered that the intramuscular injection of particulate metal, which is large enough to pass through a needle, would pose a significant health risk, although it could cause a local reaction at the site of inoculation.
Investigating the links
The two companies believe that the deaths were not related to the contaminated vaccine, but they’re carrying on with the investigation to identify any possible links. They added:
Takeda and Moderna are working with the MHLW to investigate these deaths and the investigation is being conducted with the greatest sense of urgency, transparency and integrity.
There is no indication that any of the deaths following administration of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine were in any way related to administration of the vaccine. At this point, there is also no reason to believe that the vaccine poses any health hazard or undue safety risk.