Japan has formally accepted its first COVID-19 vaccine and mentioned it might begin nationwide inoculations inside days.
Japan’s well being ministry mentioned on Sunday it had accepted the vaccine co-developed and equipped by Pfizer Inc.
The announcement comes after a authorities panel on Friday confirmed that remaining outcomes of scientific testing accomplished in Japan confirmed that the vaccine had an efficacy just like what abroad checks confirmed.
Many international locations started vaccinating their residents late final yr, and Pfizer’s vaccine has been used elsewhere since December.
Beneath the present plan, about 20,000 frontline medical employees in hospitals in Japan will get their first photographs starting round Wednesday.
About 3.7 million different medical employees might be subsequent, adopted by aged folks, who’re anticipated to get their photographs in April. By June, it is anticipated that every one others might be eligible.
Well being ministry official Yuta Yamashita mentioned inoculations can begin as quickly as a ministry panel on vaccination logistics offers the go-ahead.
The approval was granted in a particular fast-track course of for emergency use. It took two months in comparison with the standard one yr in a rustic identified for cautious and slow-moving approval processes.
Nonetheless, the rollout in Japan is months behind many different international locations as a result of the federal government had requested for scientific testing domestically along with the multinational checks Pfizer carried out on greater than 40,000 folks from July to November. Many international locations accepted Pfizer’s outcomes and moved forward.
Vaccines are thought-about key to holding the delayed Tokyo Olympics this summer season.
Japan is anticipated to obtain 144 million doses from Pfizer, 120 million from AstraZeneca and about 50 million from Moderna earlier than the tip of this yr, sufficient to cowl its inhabitants.