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Japan authorizes emergency use of Pfizer vaccine  

  • February 16, 2021
  • , All national papers
  • JMH Summary

All national papers wrote that on Sunday the Health Ministry formally approved the emergency use of Pfizer’s coronavirus vaccine. Two doses of the vaccine will be administered to people aged 16 or older three weeks apart. Healthcare professionals will be vaccinated starting on Wednesday, followed by the elderly and people with underlying conditions. Mainichi wrote that the Kantei has been adamant about vaccinating healthcare workers sooner than initially planned to deflect criticism that the administration’s response to the pandemic has been too slow. As Japan will probably need to decide by late March whether or not to hold the Tokyo Olympics as planned, the Kantei is hoping that a speedy rollout of the vaccination program will alleviate people’s concerns about going ahead with the Games amid the pandemic. Sankei said the GOJ hopes the immunization program will help dispel public discontent over the administration’s handling of the pandemic, adding, however, that the success of the rollout will depend on vaccine supplies from the EU.       


In a related story, Saturday’s Nikkei estimated that it will be necessary to mobilize over 11,000 doctors and 28,000 nurses per day to vaccinate some 35.3 million people aged 65 or older at vaccination hubs across the country beginning in April. Many municipalities are reportedly concerned that they won’t be able to secure enough healthcare workers to staff their vaccination centers every day for several months. 


Meanwhile, all national dailies wrote on Saturday that AEON, the nation’s leading retailer, announced that it is prepared to make 290 shopping malls across the nation available as COVID-19 vaccination hubs. Mitsubishi UFJ Bank has also unveiled a similar plan for its recreational facilities, while JTB, KNT-CT Holdings, and other major travel agents are planning to deploy some of their employees as clerks to handle registration procedures at local governments’ vaccination centers. 

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