JAPAN has disposed of about 740,000 Moderna Covid-19 booster vaccine doses as they have expired, as the country has struggled to offer more third shots to its population.
A Kyodo News survey showed that the vaccines were discarded or are expected to be discarded in 27 major cities in the country.
The survey, conducted from May 17 to last Thursday, asked 52 major cities in Japan whether they have scrapped or plan to scrap the Moderna booster doses.
The Moderna boosters are supplied by the government and used across the country and it is not limited to the 52 cities surveyed. The wastage could be even higher as more such cases could be found in other areas in Japan.
Many of the doses have an expiration date between April and June. The Moderna vaccines have a shorter shelf life of nine months compared with Pfizer's 12 months.
The survey report said that such wasted doses amounted to 739,085 shots in total, with each municipality reporting a wastage of between 645 to 120,000 doses.
The survey results are also seen as reflecting the younger population's apparent reluctance to receive a third shot and the preference for Pfizer shots.
This could also be related to adverse reactions such as pain and fever which are more frequently reported with Moderna shots.
Authorities said that about 75 million people have received booster shots as of last Friday.
Of those, about 31 million were given the Moderna vaccine, while about 44 million were given the Pfizer vaccine.