Omicron BA.5 vaccine rolled out in Japan

The Yomiuri Shimbun
A medical worker administers the omicron BA.5-adapted bivalent vaccine to a patient in Yokohama on Thursday.

YOKOHAMA — A number of medical institutions in Yokohama on Thursday began administering COVID-19 vaccines effective against the omicron BA.5 subvariant, in line with the central government’s nationwide rollout.

The move allows people to choose from the omicron BA.1-adapted bivalent vaccine and the omicron BA.5-adapted bivalent vaccine, which is effective against both the conventional virus and omicron BA.5, the currently dominant strain in Japan.

Vaccines against the BA.1 omicron subvariant — prevalent in the early stages of the omicron variant’s spread — are currently available at about 2,000 locations in the city.

The new vaccine, which will eventually replace the omicron BA.1-adapted shot — is manufactured by Pfizer Inc., and can be administered to people aged 12 and over.

On the day, some 59 people who booked an appointment received the omicron BA.5-adapted vaccine at a Yokohama hospital.

“I’m not worried [about the vaccine] because it’s the latest iteration, though I’m a little concerned about adverse reactions,” said a 51-year-old company employee who received the updated shot.

The new vaccine was slated to be delivered to 76 Yokohama medical institutions by Friday and will be administered at mass vaccination sites in the city from November.