Japan OK’s 1st vaccine against coronavirus
13:26 JST, February 15, 2021
The Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry on Sunday approved the application by U.S. pharmaceutical giant Pfizer Inc. for the manufacture and sale of a vaccine against the novel coronavirus.
This represents the first approval for a novel coronavirus vaccine in Japan.
Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga told a Budget Committee meeting in the House of Representatives on Monday morning, “We hope to start vaccinating medical personnel on Feb. 17.”
“The vaccine is a decisive factor in the fight against infection, and we must swiftly establish a system that allows all residents to be vaccinated with peace of mind,” Suga said.
The vaccine is called Comirnaty, and is injected into arm muscle in two doses administered three weeks apart. International clinical trials have shown that it reduces the incidence of novel coronavirus by 95%.
Vaccination is available to people aged 16 and over, and the government will pay the full cost. The vaccine will be given to health care workers first, and then to about 36 million elderly people from April.
On Monday, the health ministry set up a telephone consultation service. It will provide basic information about the vaccine and answer questions about vaccination procedures.
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