TOKYO, Feb. 14 (NHK) -The Japanese government has officially approved a coronavirus vaccine developed by the US pharmaceutical company Pfizer. The vaccine is the first to be given the green light for use against the coronavirus in the country.
The Health and Welfare Ministry said on Sunday that it had granted authorization after a panel of experts reached a decision on Friday based on their findings on the efficacy and safety of the vaccine.
Pfizer applied for approval of the vaccine in December.
The vaccine will be given to people aged 16 or older. Two shots will be administered three weeks apart.
Inoculations are expected to begin as early as Wednesday. Medical workers will be the first in line to receive the shots, followed by elderly people.
Under a contract with the government, Pfizer is due to supply Japan with enough doses for 72 million people by the end of the year.
Another pharmaceutical firm, Britain's AstraZeneca, applied for authorization on February 5 to use its coronavirus vaccine in Japan. The US company Moderna is also conducting clinical trials with its vaccine in Japan.