U.S. pharmaceutical giant Pfizer Inc. will request formal approval by Japan of its COVID-19 vaccine on Friday, making it the first supplier in the country to do so, according to informed sources.
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.
Earlier in the month, the Diet enacted a law to cover the costs for residents to be vaccinated, amid a resurgence in infections that shows no signs of abating.
As vaccinations could begin as early as March, the government plans to ask municipalities to prepare venues in addition to medical institutions ahead of the rollout, as well as set up 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 degrees Celsius or lower and administered within approximately 10 days.