Japan Panel to Meet Thurs. on Moderna, AstraZeneca Vaccines

Society Lifestyle

Tokyo, May 17 (Jiji Press)--Japan's health ministry said Monday that it will hold a panel meeting on Thursday to decide whether to approve COVID-19 vaccines developed by U.S. biotechnology startup Moderna Inc. and British drugmaker AstraZeneca PLC, respectively.

With a green light from the panel, the ministry plans to approve the vaccines as special cases after simplified screenings.

The Moderna vaccine is expected to be used at mass vaccination venues to be run by the Defense Ministry in Tokyo and the western prefecture of Osaka from May 24.

Currently, U.S. drug giant Pfizer Inc.'s COVID-19 vaccine is the only one approved in Japan. A total of around 4.4 million medical workers and people aged 65 or over have so far been each given at least one dose of the Pfizer vaccine.

Having two more vaccines approved is expected to help accelerate the country's vaccination campaign.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press