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AstraZeneca applies for COVID-19 vaccine approval in Japan

AstraZeneca applies for COVID-19 vaccine approval in Japan

The pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca said on Friday it had applied for approval in Japan for its COVID-19 drug, Reuters has learned.

Prime minister Suga in December approved a contract to procure 120 million doses of AstraZeneca COVID vaccine, this batch is enough for 60 million people. At the same time, the government makes arrangements to approve another coronavirus vaccine developed by Pfizer-BioNTech on February 15.

The health ministry has already signed a contract with Pfizer to receive doses for 72 million people this year. In its efforts to hold the deal, Pfizer submitted data to the Japanese ministry on clinical trials of the vaccine.

As the health minister Tamura Norihisa said, an expert panel meeting on February 12 will seek advice on whether to approve the Pfizer vaccine. If the panel gives the green light, is expected to issue formal approval on February 15.

The Japanese health officials say the Pfizer anti-virus drug if approved, will be administered only to people aged 16 or older for the time being.