Japan in talks with Pfizer to move up vaccine supply schedule

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Vials of Pfizer Inc.’s COVID-19 vaccines

Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said the government is in talks with Pfizer Inc. to have the COVID-19 vaccines arrive earlier than initially scheduled to prepare for a third round of inoculations.

The government plans to shorten the interval between the second and third shots, which in principle is set to eight months. Japan has already signed a contract with the U.S. pharmaceutical giant to supply 120 million doses to be used next year. Kishida indicated that the government aims to negotiate with the company to secure a vaccine supply earlier than originally scheduled at Thursday’s plenary session of the House of Councillors.

Regarding border control measures against the new omicron coronavirus variant, Kishida said, “We will do our utmost to secure quarantine facilities [for such people as those returning to Japan].”

He also said that 9,610 rooms were available as of Thursday to be used for such purposes, expressing his intention to work with local governments to secure more.

During interpellations held later in the day at the House of Representatives, Kishida spoke of a program to give points worth up to ¥20,000 per person to all holders of My Number identification cards.

“For all those who register to newly obtain a My Number card, a program to give them points worth up to ¥5,000 per person will begin in January,” Kishida added.