The government will establish a system that enables an efficient administration of a new coronavirus vaccine by matching the number of people who wish to receive the vaccination with the amount of vaccine supplies. The aim is to make sure to block the spread of the virus through balanced distribution of the vaccine since supplies are likely to be limited.
In the FY2020 second supplementary budget, 2.8 billion yen was earmarked to fund a “standardized system for smooth vaccine administration (tentative).” The system will be ready by the end of the current fiscal year to be utilized by the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare (MHLW) and other organizations as soon as the vaccine becomes available.
Medical institutions will provide data to the system on the number and location of people who wish to receive the vaccination. Pharmaceutical manufacturers will offer data on supplies of the vaccine. Supply and demand will be matched in the new system that will identify the most efficient delivery schedule as well as the best vaccination times and locations based on the availability of the vaccine.
The vaccine is likely be in short supply immediately after its market launch. The MHLW explains: “Relying on the market alone may result in uneven distribution of the vaccine by region in terms of the number of vaccinated people and industries. As soon as the vaccine becomes available, we want to distribute a sufficient amount to the locations that need it.”
In addition to establishing the system, the government will provide support for domestic vaccine research and development efforts. The second supplementary budget includes 50 billion yen earmarked for the purpose, along with 137.7 billion yen set aside for creating a fund to support firms that engage in production of the vaccine. The government views the development of a vaccine for the new coronavirus as central to maintaining the nation’s economic activities as a second wave of the virus is widely expected.
Globally as well as in Japan, the race to develop a coronavirus vaccine has been accelerating. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), more than 120 studies are currently underway. In Japan, clinical trials is expected to start in July led by Osaka University and the Osaka-based medical startup AnGes involving healthcare workers.