Japan Greenlights COVID-19 Vaccine For Use With Young Children
TOKYO, Oct 6 (NNN-NHK) – Japan’s health ministry, yesterday granted fast-track approval, to U.S. pharmaceutical company Pfizer’s updated coronavirus vaccine, for children aged between six months and four years old.
The vaccine, which is an updated version targeting the original strain and the BA.4 and BA.5 subvariants of Omicron, will be administered over three shots, making it the first COVID-19 vaccine available in Japan for the age group.
The ministry also approved the production and sales of the same bivalent vaccine, as a booster shot for people who have already had the first series of two shots. For eligibility, five months must have passed since the last vaccination, health ministry officials said.
Pfizer applied in July for Japan’s approval of its bivalent vaccine, which is tailored to work against the BA.4 and BA.5 subvariants and earlier strains.
The development comes, amid Japan’s ongoing seventh wave of COVID-19 infections, fueled mostly by the spread of the BA.5 subvariant. To stem the highly prevalent Omicron subvariant, Japan started administering Omicron booster shots made by Moderna and Pfizer in Sept, but the doses were both engineered for the initial coronavirus strain and the BA.1 subvariant.