On July 25, 2022, a committee of Japan’s Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare announced that it would provide a lump-sum death benefit of ¥44.2 million ($324,000), plus an additional ¥212,000 for funeral expenses, to the family of an elderly woman who died shortly after receiving a COVID-19 shot. The committee determined there was a causal relationship between the vaccination and the woman’s death.1 2 3
According to the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare, the woman “developed an acute allergic reaction and acute myocardial infarction (heart attack) after the vaccination, and died.1 2 3 News reports also stated that the panel…
An article in the daily newspaper The Mainichi noted:
Since it is impossible to eliminate adverse reactions and health problems caused by vaccinations, the Japanese government has a relief system in place to provide benefits such as medical expenses in cases where a causal relationship with vaccination cannot be ruled out.3
Four COVID Biologics Available in Japan
It is unclear which COVID shot the deceased woman received. As of Apr. 19, 2022, four COVID shots have been approved by the Japan’s government for use in that country, including Pfizer/BioNTech’s BNT162b2 (also known as “Comirnaty”) and Moderna/NIAID’s mRNA-1273 (“Spikevax”) messenger RNA (mRNA) COVID biologics and AstraZeneca’s Vaxzevria (“AZD1222”) and Novavax’s Nuvaxovid adenovirus vectored vaccines.4
Thousands in Japan Have Filed Claims After COVID Vaccination
Some 3,680 other people in Japan have filed applications with the health ministry for vaccine-injury related compensation and have had them reviewed. Of those applications, 850 cases have been approved, 62 cases have been denied and 16 cases remain pending.1 2 3
Another committee within Japan’s health ministry has received reports of more than 1,700 cases of vaccine-related deaths from medical facilities in the country. However, no causal relationship between the vaccinations and deaths were determined in those cases.1 2 3
Deaths Reported in Japan Days After Getting mRNA Shots
On Mar. 2, 2021, Reuters reported that a woman in her 60s died in Japan of a brain hemorrhage three days after receiving Pfizer’s Comirnaty biologic. The case was Japan’s first reported death following a COVID vaccination. At the time, it was unclear if the hemorrhage was caused by the shot or if it was purely coincidental.5
In August 2021, two men in their 30s died in Japan within days after getting Moderna’s Spikevax and a third man, 49, died the day after receiving the shot. On Sept. 1, 2021, the distributor of Spikevax in Japan, Takeda Pharmaceutical Co., recalled 1.63 million doses (in 163,000 vials) of the biologic after three lots of the product were found to be contaminated with 316L stainless steel particles.6 7 8
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1 Kyodo News. Japan grants 1st payment for death related to COVID vaccination. July 26, 2022.
2 The Japan Times. Japan grants first payment for death related to COVID vaccination. July 26, 2022.
3 The Mainichi. Japanese gov’t set to pay benefits over death after COVID shot for 1st time. July 26, 2022.
4 The Asahi Shimbun. Novavax’s COVID vaccine becomes 4th available for use in Japan. Apr. 19, 2022.
5 Reuters Staff. Woman dies from brain haemorrhage in Japan days after vaccine, but link uncertain. Reuters Mar. 2, 2021.
6 Blair G. Third person dies in Japan after taking contaminated Moderna coronavirus vaccine. The Guardian Sept. 7, 2021.
7 Cáceres M. Moderna Recalls 764,900 Doses of Spikevax Due to Contamination Problem. The Vaccine Reaction Apr. 16, 2022.
8 Reuters. Two die in Japan after shots from suspended Moderna vaccines – Japan govt. Aug. 28, 2021.
9 Murakami Y, Shinohara M, Oka Y, Wada R, Noike R, Ohara H, Fujino T, Ikeda T. Myocarditis Following a COVID-19 Messenger RNA Vaccination: A Japanese Case Series. Intern Med Feb. 15, 2022; 61(4): 501-505.
10 Ohnishi M, Tanaka Y, Nishida S, Sugimoto T. Case report of acute myocarditis after administration of coronavirus disease 2019 vaccine in Japan. Eur Heart J Case Rep Jan. 5, 2022; 6(1): ytab534.
11 Yamamoto S, Arita Y, Ogasawara N. Myocarditis Following the Second Dose of COVID-19 Vaccination in a Japanese Adolescent. Cureus Mar. 25, 2022;14(3): e23474.