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COVID-19: Japan to give free vaccinations to citizens

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This information was disclosed by the Japanese Health Ministry Advisory Body in accordance with a policy approved on Friday, in a bid to curb serious and fatal cases of infection.

The policy addresses that the first dose be issued to everyone, amid the uncertainty at this stage, over how many times a vaccine would need to be administered.

A ministry official while offering his personal opinion, said the policy covering foreign residents in Japan has yet to be officially determined and that it would be natural to include them for the sake of public health.

Read also: US VP, Pence, Secretary of State, Pompeo test negative for Covid-19

According to the ministry, the government is trying to secure enough vaccines by the first half of 2021 to administer to all members of the public, having earmarked a budget of ¥671.4 billion ($6.4 billion).

An agreement has been reached with British drugmaker AstraZeneca PLC and U.S. pharmaceutical giant Pfizer Inc. to receive 120 million doses of vaccine from each company when successfully developed.

The ministry added that negotiation is also being made with U.S. firm Moderna Inc. for 40 million doses or more.

The ministry however, said in case a vaccination causes serious side effects, the Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry plans to have the state, not companies, redress patients and pay damages through a law revision at an extraordinary Diet session expected to start later this month.

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