All national dailies took up a GOJ announcement yesterday that COVID-19 inoculation for people aged 65 and older will begin on April 12 in limited municipalities and that Pfizer vaccines for them will be distributed nationwide in the last week of April. While noting that some 2.34 million doses will reportedly be available by the end of March, Administrative Minister Kono told the press that the vaccination of older people and medical professionals will be conducted simultaneously in April and May.
In a related development, Nikkei wrote that the UK drug maker AstraZeneca plans to submit to the Health Ministry next month additional data on the results of a clinical test of its coronavirus vaccine that has been conducted in Japan since August for emergency use authorization. Several local pharmaceutical companies are expected to manufacture the vaccine in Japan. The daily projected that the locally produced AstraZeneca vaccine will be available beginning in May. According to the daily, Takeda Pharmaceutical also announced yesterday that it has begun a clinical trial in Japan of a COVID-19 vaccine developed by the U.S. manufacturer Novavax.