Japan seeks additional supplies of Covid-19 vaccine

Japan wants Pfizer to provide more Covid-19 vaccine as soon as 2021

Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga on April 17 asked US pharmaceutical company Pfizer to provide more Covid-19-resistant vaccine to the country in 2021.

As of April 17, only 0.9% of the Japanese population received the first shot of the vaccine. Photo: AFP

Pharmaceutical firm Pfizer confirmed that Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla met with Prime Minister Suga to discuss the vaccine supply on the last day of Mr. Suga’s three-day visit to Washington. The vaccine produced by the joint venture Pfizer and BioNTech is currently the only vaccine licensed for use in Japan.

Japan’s Nikkei newspaper earlier reported that Prime Minister Suga asked Pfizer to provide more vaccines. Japan has begun vaccination for the elderly since April 12, but some experts warned that the country will be difficult to complete the immunization of the entire population until the end of summer or even winter because of limited supply of vaccines.

Japan is one of the last major economies to initiate the Covid-19 injection when it only activated its vaccination program in mid-February, after conducting domestic trials to ensure safety. .

Top Japanese health experts admit that the Covid-19 pandemic has entered the fourth wave. As of April 17, only 0.9% of the Japanese population received the first vaccine, while this rate reached 2.5% in South Korea and up to 48% in the UK.

According to medical experts’ comments published in the British Medical Journal on April 14, Japan showed “weakness” in stopping the spread of the virus, in addition to testing capacity. limitations and delays in immunization.

The head of the Tokyo Olympic Organizing Committee on April 16 said Japan was committed to hosting a safe Olympics this summer. This pledge came amid further calls to postpone or cancel the Olympics due to an increase in the number of Covid-19 cases in Japan and increased pressure to strengthen infection control measures. high.