Japanese leaders demand additional vaccine supply from Pfizer

Tokyo (AP) — Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga has requested US pharmaceutical company Pfizer to supply additional COVID-19 vaccine to speed up the inoculation drive, which is lagging behind many other countries. did.

After meeting with President Joe Biden at the White House, Suga closed his visit to Washington on Saturday by calling Pfizer’s CEO Albert Bourla.

Taro Kono, the Prime Minister of Japan, who is tasked with vaccination, said at a Japanese television talk show on Sunday that both sides had “substantially reached an agreement” on the vaccine.

Japanese officials said Suga requested additional supplies from Bula to cover all eligible recipients by September and ensure stable and prompt delivery of ongoing vaccine shipments. It was. Details have not been announced.

Bula told Kan that Pfizer will work closely with the Japanese government to discuss the request, according to people familiar with the matter.

Japan, which is still in the early stages of domestic vaccine development, needs to rely on imports and has agreements with Pfizer, AstraZeneca and Moderna. The Pfizer vaccine is the only vaccine that Japan has ever approved.

By the end of this year, the Japanese government said it had secured enough doses of 314 million doses to cover the entire population. This includes 144 million doses from Pfizer.

Inoculation begins in mid-February and covers less than 1% of the population. Vaccine shortages under European Union export controls are hampering process delays.

According to Kono, the pace of vaccine shipments is expected to recover from May. The government recently amended a law to recruit nurses who have retired or are on vacation to temporarily help with vaccination, addressing concerns about a shortage of health care workers to manage jabs.

Due to the increase in incidents, the government has put alerts in Tokyo and nine other urban prefectures. It also fuels doubts about the period from July 23rd to August. 8 You can proceed with the Tokyo Olympics.

Japan has added 4,532 cases on Saturday since the pandemic began, killing a total of 525,218 cases and 9,584 people.