Japan approved on Sunday (14) the use in the country of a first vaccine against the coronavirus: the one developed by the Pfizer / BioNTech consortium. The authorization is part of the planning for the 2020 Olympics, postponed to July 23, with vaccination taking place just five months before the opening of the competitions.
Disclosed in a tweet from the Ministry of Health, the approval comes after the Japanese government confirmed last Friday (12) that the end of clinical trials conducted in that country revealed an efficacy of the Pfizer vaccine similar to that obtained in the clinical trials revealed In other countries.
Following approval, the Japanese plan includes the immunization of 20,000 health professionals who are on the front lines of fighting the pandemic, starting on Wednesday (17). Next, the remaining 3.7 million health workers will also be vaccinated, followed by elderly people starting in April. The authorities expect that, by June, other groups will be eligible for vaccination.
Olympics and Covid-19
The Japanese government’s planning foresees the receipt of 144 million doses from Pfizer, another 120 million from AstraZeneca and around 50 million from Moderna (not yet approved), before the end of this year, enough for the country to be able to immunize all its population of about 126 million.
Vaccination was a key step in the schedule for hosting the Tokyo Olympic Games, initially planned for last year. According to the agency France-Presse, the organizers of the Olympics guarantee that the event will take place in July regardless of the situation of covid-19 in other countries.
Although athletes and other participants in the games are encouraged to be immunized, vaccination will not be mandatory at the Olympics. Now Japan is dealing with another problem: securing syringes capable of holding the six doses of vaccine from the Pfizer vaccine bottles, as Japanese syringes only hold five doses.