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Coronavirus

Japan Will Begin Administering the COVID-19 Vaccine Next Week

February 10, 2021

TOKYO — Japan will begin administering the COVID-19 vaccine next week, with medical experts at the pandemic’s frontlines the first recipients.

“We will make every effort to prepare for everything,” Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga said at a meeting of ruling party officials Wednesday where he confirmed the timing of the first inoculations.

He called for cooperation by doctors, nurses and local municipalities to smoothly carry out the massive inoculations.

A health ministry panel is expected to give its first greenlight for a COVID-19 vaccine — one developed by Pfizer Inc. — within days.

Japan has also signed agreements with AstraZeneca of Britain and Moderna Inc. of the United States to provide a total of more than 310 million vaccine doses, or enough to cover the country’s entire population, this year. Pfizer is to provide 144 million of them.

Japanese officials have raised concerns about supply uncertainties of vaccines coming from Europe.

Vaccines are considered key to holding the postponed Tokyo Olympics this summer.

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