Pfizer files request for COVID-19 vaccine approval in Japan

U.S. pharmaceutical giant Pfizer Inc on Friday requested Japan's Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare approve its novel coronavirus vaccine, making it the first drug maker to file such a request in the country.
If approved, vaccination could begin as early as March. Japan has already agreed with Pfizer to receive a supply of 120 million vaccine doses, enough for 60 million people, or roughly half of the population.
"In the event that we win approval, we would like to ensure a fast delivery of our vaccine to people in Japan and play a part in normalizing their social life," Akihisa Harada, president of the Japan unit of Pfizer said.
The government plans to ask municipalities to prepare venues and medical institutions to conduct vaccinations, and make systems available for accepting reservations.
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.
But concerns remain over its safety as local U.S. authorities said Wednesday a health care worker in Alaska suffered a serious allergic reaction to the vaccine. Similar allergic reactions from two health care workers have also been reported in Britain.
Earlier in the month, Japan's parliament enacted a law to cover the costs for residents to be vaccinated, with a recent resurgence in infections demonstrating the importance of the inoculations.
The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is projected to be delivered in batches of 1,000 doses but they need to be stored at minus 75 C or lower and administered within approximately 10 days.

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