Tokyo, Japan: Japan on Friday, formally approved Moderna and AstraZeneca’s Covid-19 vaccines, though the latter will not be used right away because to concerns about extremely rare blood clots.
The announcement comes a little over two months before the Olympics, which have been postponed due to the epidemic, and amid mounting concern in Japan about the country’s comparatively tardy vaccine deployment.
A viral state of emergency has already been declared in nine regions, including Tokyo, with the action now being extended to Okinawa in the south.
Only the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine had been accessible in Japan until today, following its approval in February, and only 2% of the country’s 125 million citizens had been properly immunized.
The health ministry announced in a statement that the two new formulae had been authorized.
However, a spokesman said the debate over the AstraZeneca vaccine would continue “as we monitor the situation in other countries.”
Vaccines are currently only available to medical personnel and the elderly, and there is no timetable for extending the program.
Two military-run mass vaccination clinics will begin next week in Tokyo and Osaka to give the two-shot Moderna vaccine to everyone over the age of 65.
There is currently no schedule for the use of the AstraZeneca vaccine, which has been restricted or removed from certain nations’ immunization campaigns due to uncommon blood clot concerns, despite experts’ claims that the benefits outweigh the risks.
On Friday, Moderna’s CEO told the Nikkei newspaper that the company was exploring producing the vaccine in Asia, maybe in Japan.
Thomas Bach, the president of the International Olympic Committee, stated this week that at least three-quarters of the athletes and team members staying in Tokyo’s Olympic village will be vaccinated before the Games begin on July 23.
Organizers say that the event can be staged safely this summer, despite widespread public opposition as the number of infections in Japan rises.
A viral state of emergency has been declared in nine locations, including Tokyo, and will last until May 31. However, according to recent rumors, the measure could be extended a second time.
On Friday, the southern island region of Okinawa was added to the list of regions subject to emergency measures for the period of Sunday to June 20.
The coronavirus pandemic in Japan was relatively minor, with roughly 12,000 deaths overall, but a recent rise in infections has put hospitals under strain, according to doctors.
Japan has agreements with pharmaceutical companies to deliver adequate vaccines for its whole population, including doses for 25 million people from Moderna, 97 million people from Pfizer, and 60 million people from AstraZeneca.