Tokyo: 1.63 million doses of Moderna's anti-Covid vaccine suspended

This was announced by the Japanese Health Minister after "foreign substances" were found in some batches. In the rest of Asia, the rate of vaccinated population remains low. India, which may have reached the endemic stage, plans to return to exporting vaccines in 2022.



Tokyo (AsiaNews/Agencies) - Japan has suspended the administration of 1.63 million doses of Moderna after foreign substances were found in some batches. This was announced today by the Japanese Health Ministry. The pharmaceutical company Takeda, which is responsible for the sale and distribution of the vaccine in Japan, did not specify the nature of the contamination and said it had received no reports of health problems related to the affected batches. The health minister said he will work with Takeda to avoid causing delays to the vaccine plan. Forty-three percent of Japan's population has completed the vaccine cycle, but cases are increasing due to the spread of coronavirus variants.

In the rest of Asia, only Singapore, Bhutan, and the Maldives have higher rates with 76%, 63%, and 55% of the population receiving the two doses, respectively.

Meanwhile, India expects to be able to return to exporting vaccines by next year, having immunized its adult population. "Almost 60 countries are hardly having any access to vaccine and India should be able to provide a substantial portion in 2022," N.K. Arora, chairman of the National Technical Advisory Group on Immunization in India, said yesterday. 

A World Health Organization doctor said the virus in India appears to have reached a certain level of endemicity. A disease becomes endemic when it is spread over an area where much of the population is immune to it. In this case, infections continue to occur but at a slower rate. In fact, the level of transmission of the disease in India has decreased: the daily cases have gone from 400 thousand in April to about 25 thousand this week.

However, experts do not exclude the possibility of a third wave. Given the permanent possibility of new variants emerging, the debate on when the endemic phase can actually be reached remains open.