• Coronavirus

Injections Start for First Japan-made COVID Vaccine, Targeting XBB 1.5 Variant

The Yomiuri Shimbun
A doctor administers a Daiichi Sankyo Co. vaccine to a patient at a hospital in Itabashi Ward, Tokyo, on Wednesday.

TOKYO — Shots of the first Japan-made vaccine for the novel coronavirus are finally being administered, nearly four years after the start of the pandemic.

The vaccine, developed by Daiichi Sankyo Co. and targeting the omicron XBB 1.5 variant, uses messenger RNA like the shots made by Pfizer Inc. and Moderna Inc. in the United States, which are also widely used in Japan.

Production and sale of the vaccine for the virus’ original strain was approved by the Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry in August. In September, the XBB variant shot was also approved, and the health ministry contracted with Daiichi Sankyo to purchase 1.4 million doses. The doses will be used for booster shots for those age 12 and older.