Covid-19 coronavirus
Photo: Martin Sanchez

Japan will provide free Covid-19 vaccines to all residents

The government has approved a bill to offer all residents a free coronavirus vaccine once it’s available

Emma Steen
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Emma Steen
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Good news for residents of Japan. Though a coronavirus vaccine has yet to be released, the Japanese government has decided that when it does become available, all residents in Japan will get one for free. 

In a cabinet meeting held on October 27, the government decided to amend the current immunisation law so that all residents in Japan could be provided with a coronavirus vaccine. Prime Minister Suga is aiming for the vaccine to be distributed within the first half of 2021, if it becomes available by then. 

According to Kyodo News, Japan has made agreements with British-Swedish pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca Plc and American pharmaceutical company Pfizer Inc to procure 120 million doses of the vaccine when it is approved. The government is also negotiating with American biotechnology company Moderna Inc for an additional 40 million doses.

A budget of ¥671.4 billion has been set aside to cover the cost of the vaccine as well as ‘to compensate suppliers’ should any serious side effects occur. The government will urge all residents to get the vaccine. 

The New York Times reports that AstraZeneca, Pfizer and Moderna have all entered phase three of clinical trials, the final stage of testing before a vaccine can be approved. 

Follow live updates on the Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic in Tokyo and Japan here.

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