As news of UK’s approval of a COVID-19 vaccine began to reverberate around the world, the Japanese government has signalled that this is encouraging news for the administration of Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga, eager to restart international travel ahead of the postponed Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics, scheduled for July 2021.
The Japanese government has already secured contracts with three US and UK drug makers for at least 145 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines. Medical workers and the elderly are expected to be prioritised for the first vaccines. The government has stated that it is aiming for all citizens to be vaccinated by the end of the first half of 2021 ahead of the Tokyo Games.
Chief Cabinet Secretary Katsunobu Kato said:
“If an application for approval (for a COVID-19) vaccine is filed (in Japan), we’ll approve it after confirming the efficacy and safety. We’re waiting for action by (vaccine) developers, [and] we’ll keep in touch with the makers.”
MAP Online will continue to update the progress of the COVID-19 vaccine rollout. The Japan Times reported further detail on this story.