Japan working on starting COVID-19 booster shots by year-end

FILE PHOTO: Medical staff prepare Moderna coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine to be administered at newly-opened mass vaccination centre in Tokyo, Japan, May 24, 2021. Carl Court/Pool via REUTERS

TOKYO (Reuters) -The Japanese government is working on starting COVID-19 booster shots by year-end, deputy chief cabinet secretary Yoshihiko Isozaki said at a news conference on Tuesday.

Isozaki added that details such as who would get booster shots first and how they would be administered are currently under discussion by experts.

“We would like to ensure that the roll-out of the booster shots is done seamlessly, based on the advice of experts,” he said.

The statement comes amid increased interest in booster shots as more of Japan’s population gets vaccinated.

New prime minister Fumio Kishida told parliament earlier on Tuesday that he plans to have the booster shots publicly funded.

The health ministry also announced on Friday that Pfizer Inc will supply Japan with another 120 million COVID-19 vaccine doses from January 2022.

As of Tuesday, some 74% of Japan’s population had received their first shot, and about 65% are fully vaccinated, according to broadcaster NHK.

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