Tokyo, March 21 (Jiji Press)–Japanese health minister Norihisa Tamura on Sunday suggested the possibility of his ministry approving the use of two more vaccines against the novel coronavirus in May.
British pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca PLC filed for health ministry approval for its vaccine in February, while Japan’s Takeda Pharmaceutical Co. <4502> sought approval for a vaccine developed by U.S. biotech startup Moderna Inc. earlier this month.
Their applications were filed under an emergency process with simplified screening.
“The two vaccines may possibly be approved in May if things go very smoothly,” Tamura said in a television program. “We’ll closely check their safety and effectiveness.”
Japan has so far approved a vaccine developed by major U.S. drugmaker Pfizer Inc. The Japanese government started its coronavirus inoculation program in February using the Pfizer vaccine, initially targeting medical workers.
Tamura also said he expects that Japan can manage to secure supplies of the Pfizer vaccine enough for two doses for each elderly person within June.