Tokyo, Jan 4 (Agency) Japan is planning to launch a COVID-19 vaccination drive by late February, Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga said on Monday. The country has agreements with Pfizer/BioNTech for 120 million vaccine doses, UK-Swedish pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca for another 120 million doses and US company Moderna for 50 million doses, Suga told a press conference today “The government is preparing to start vaccination, if possible, by the end of February, while continuing to study safety and effectiveness of [vaccines],”.
The Japanese Health Ministry earlier reported that once a coronavirus vaccine gets authorization in the country, which is likely to occur in February, 10,000 medical workers will immediately receive shots. In March, four million health care workers are expected to get inoculated. Starting from April, people with serious medical conditions such as chronic cardiovascular diseases, diseases of kidneys, lungs, liver, oncology patients, as well as people with obesity (body mass index above 30) will also be able to get shots. In early December, the Japanese parliament passed a bill to make vaccination against the coronavirus free to residents.