Since September, news has been circulating that the central government is considering making the Covid-19 vaccine free in Japan. As the country currently faces what has been dubbed the third wave of the pandemic, it’s perhaps comforting to know that the bill to provide free vaccination in Japan has been approved in both the Upper and Lower House. This means the law will take effect as soon as a safe and effective vaccine is confirmed.
According to a Japan Times report, Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga has ‘vowed to secure enough doses of vaccine' for the country by the end of June next year. Currently, Japan has lined up vaccine candidates from Moderna, AstraZeneca and Pfizer – the three pharmaceutical companies that made headlines recently for their positive vaccine trial results.
In the same news report, the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare has stated that local governments will be tasked with implementing the vaccination programme. While the newly passed law stipulates that Japan’s citizens are obliged to ‘make efforts to get vaccinated against coronavirus’, it is unclear whether foreign residents are eligible for the free coronavirus vaccination.
Let’s keep our fingers crossed, shall we?
Keep up with the latest Covid-19 news in Tokyo and Japan here.