Pfizer to apply for Japan COVID-19 vaccine approval Fri.: sources

DEC 18 , 2020. 8 hours ago – 02:07 KYODO NEWS

Photo shows Pfizer headquarters in New York in November 2015. (Kyodo) 

TOKYO – U.S. pharmaceutical giant Pfizer Inc. will request formal approval Friday by Japan of its COVID-19 vaccine for the novel coronavirus as the first supplier in the country to do so, according to sources familiar with the move.

The Japanese government has already agreed with Pfizer to receive a supply of 120 million vaccine doses, enough for 60 million people, or roughly half of its population.

The United States and Britain have already begun administering the coronavirus vaccine jointly developed by Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech SE, while Singapore and some other countries are expected to follow suit.

But concerns remain over its safety as local U.S. authorities said Wednesday a health care worker in Alaska had shown a serious allergic reaction to the vaccine. Similar allergic reactions by two health care workers have also been reported in Britain.

Earlier in the month, Japan’s parliament enacted a law to cover the costs for residents to be vaccinated, with the recent resurgence in infections showing no signs of abating.

As vaccination could begin as early as March, the Japanese government plans to ask municipalities to prepare venues in addition to medical institutions, and ready systems to accept reservations.

The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is projected to be delivered in batches of 1,000 doses but they need to be stored at minus 75 C or lower and administered within approximately 10 days.