Japan to reduce Covid-19 booster waiting time for the most vulnerable
Kanako Mita and Sawako Utsumi
Modern Tokyo Times
Prime Minister Fumio Kishida of Japan is determined to reduce the Covid-19 (coronavirus) booster vaccine timetable to six months from the planned eight months. This notably concerns the most vulnerable groups. Therefore, Japan is requesting more booster jabs from Pfizer Inc and BioNTech.
Moderna Inc was also sanctioned to partake in the booster program in the last few days. Meanwhile, Novavax Inc is seeking approval for the first time. Hence, the Kishida administration is increasing the availability of hospital beds, responding to the ongoing coronavirus by reducing the booster timetable for the most vulnerable, purchasing more oral treatments, and enhancing other areas.
Voice of America reports, “Kishida told reporters the government has been negotiating to receive 120 million doses of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine ahead of schedule. He said during his call with the company’s CEO, Albert Bourla, he also agreed to purchase two million doses of Pfizer’s oral COVID-19 treatment, Paxlovid.”
The Omicron variant is spreading in many parts of the world. Thus, with reports stressing the importance of taking a booster shot, Kishida is responding to events with greater urgency than the former administration of Yoshihide Suga.
Patients and workers in elderly care facilities are being prioritized during the early part of the booster vaccine program. However, if the 120 million Pfizer doses are received earlier and the supply chain with Moderna – and other vaccines – are involved with the vaccine booster program, then other vulnerable groups will be able to take the booster shot after six months.
The plan is to have 24 million Pfizer booster doses by February. These will be available to all local governments throughout the country. Moderna will also provide 17 million doses during the same timeframe.
https://stopcovid19.metro.tokyo.lg.jp/en/ – Tokyo Metropolitan Government website for updates about the coronavirus crisis in Tokyo.
https://toyokeizai.net/sp/visual/tko/covid19/en.html – Japan and Tokyo Covid-19 news with more analysis
https://covid19japan.com/ – Japan regional coronavirus statistics
https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/ World coronavirus statistics
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