Picture used for illustrative purposes only.
Two people died after receiving Moderna Inc coronavirus vaccine shots that were among lots later suspended following the discovery of contaminants, Japan's health ministry said on Saturday.
The men in their 30s 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 causes of death are being investigated.
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 Co, received reports of contaminants in some vials, according to Reuters.
"At this time, we do not have any evidence that these deaths are caused by the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine," Moderna and Takeda said in a statement on Saturday. "It is important to conduct a formal investigation to determine whether there is any connection."
A health worker prepares to administer a vaccine dose.
The government has also said no safety or efficacy issues had been identified and the suspension of the three Moderna batches was a precaution.
Meanwhile, Tokyo city hall has apologised for "confusion” amid its vaccination rollout targeting young people, after crowds looking to get the shot were turned away from a facility in the Shibuya district.
Health authorities on Saturday switched to a reservation system instead of first come, first served. But more than 2,200 people showed up to get vaccine appointment vouchers, some waiting in line since dawn, and 354 were selected by lottery to receive shots, Japanese media reported.
Inoculations for those ages 16 through 39 began on Friday.
Japan, which has one of the slowest COVID-19 vaccine rollouts in the developed world, has prioritized giving shots to elderly people and then gradually working its way down by age group.
The latest development appears to counter critics who had suggested young people wouldn't be interested in getting vaccinated.
Takeda Pharmaceutical Co., a Japanese drugmaker in charge of sales and distribution of the vaccine in Japan, said it decided to suspend use of doses manufactured in the same production line as a safety precaution.
Thirty-six others were injured, some of them critically, in a blaze that sent people scrambling up the stairs toward the roof in a desperate — and futile — attempt to escape.
More than twice the usual rainfall for the whole of August has fallen over parts of the southern island of Kyushu over the past 48 hours.
The official said that after going through the details of the incident, the Punjab police have decided to recommend the federal and provincial government that this “dangerous game” be banned. “It is necessary to ban the game to prevent violent acts.”
Police chief said the incident was a result of "previous enmity" among neighbours. He gave no further details but media reports said a 16-year-old relative of the perpetrators had killed himself by jumping in front of a train after the married 21-year-old woman rejected his advances.
The meeting addressed recent developments, in light of the latest Houthi attacks on civilian facilities in the UAE, which threaten regional and international security. Zuzana denounced the attacks and all forms of Houthi's terrorism and threats to regional security and stability.
The charitable initiative, launched to distribute surplus food to those in need, signed a total of 30 agreements with authorities and establishments last year to facilitate the safe distribution of surplus food to beneficiaries in the emirate.