TOKYO: With the summer Olympic Games in sight, Japan today approved its first coronavirus vaccine developed by Pfizer.
The move was highly predicted after on Friday approval was recommended by a government panel where Health Minister Norihisa Tamura said Japan would give its final approval as soon as possible.
Before making it and other coronavirus vaccines available from April to more medical workers and the elderly, Japan is now likely to put the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine in the arms of 10,000 to 20,000 medical workers from as early as Wednesday.
Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga has said that the vaccinations will begin with some 10,000 health workers from the middle of next week.
The government hopes to secure sufficient supplies by mid-year for the entire country od around 126 million people.
Japan is now trying to secure ample special syringes that can extract the full six doses from each vial of the Pfizer vaccine.
After its third and deadliest virus wave struck late last year most of Japan is still under a state of emergency. In the past few weeks, cases and deaths have decreased and Tokyo reported just over 300 cases on Friday.
The Tokyo Olympic games 2020 which was postpond due to Covid 19 is scheduled to start from July 23.
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