Japan gives fast-track approval to Moderna’s COVID vaccine as booster

Dec 17 , 2021. 15 hours ago – 19:33 KYODO NEWS

TOKYO – Japan’s health ministry Thursday gave fast-track approval to use U.S. biotechnology firm Moderna Inc.’s COVID-19 vaccine as booster shots as the country steps up efforts to keep new coronavirus infections at bay.

The approval came after the ministry gave the green light last month to use Pfizer Inc.’s COVID-19 vaccine as booster shots.

Health minister Shigeyuki Goto said before parliament that the rollout of booster shots using Moderna’s vaccine is expected to start as early as next month.

The ministry decided to provide Moderna’s booster shots for free at least six months after an individual aged 18 or older has received their second dose.

Japan has set an eight-month interval “in principle” between the second shot and a booster but has been working to bring forward the timing of the third shot following the emergence of the Omicron variant of the virus.