Pfizer Applies for COVID-19 Vaccine Approval in Japan
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Tokyo, Dec. 18 (Jiji Press)--U.S. pharmaceutical giant Pfizer Inc. asked Japan's health ministry on Friday to approve its COVID-19 vaccine, in the first application for regulatory approval in Japan of a vaccine for the novel coronavirus.
Chief Cabinet Secretary Katsunobu Kato told a press conference the same day that the government will approve the vaccine under a special system that allows for substantially shortened screening procedures if the vaccine is confirmed to be safe and effective.
The move raises the possibility of vaccinations starting as early as next spring. Japan took around two to three months to give special approval for a vaccine for new strains of influenza.
The Japanese government has reached broad agreement with the drugmaker to get COVID-19 vaccines for 60 million people.
"I have instructed related departments to examine (the application) with the highest priority," health minister Norihisa Tamura told reporters the same day.
[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]