The Japanese government approved Pfizer’s Covid-19 vaccine for ages 12 to 15 on Monday, the media reported.
According to the Japanese Kyodo news agency, this newly approved age group will not be getting the vaccine instantly as the country is still vaccinating medical staff and senior citizens. So far, an estimated 6% of the Japanese population has taken at least one shot of a vaccine, which is lower when compared to other developed nations.
Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga has promised to speed up the effort and ensure complete vaccination of the elderly before the commencement of the Tokyo Olympics in July.
In a parallel development, Japan has approved the storage guidelines for the Pfizer vaccine that will allow for month-long storage at 2-8 degrees Celsius (36-46 degrees Fahrenheit) after removal from the freezer, instead of five days.
The US pharmaceutical company had advised that 12 to 15 year olds be made eligible after a successful clinical trial including 2,260 children revealed a 100% efficacy rate, with none developing any symptom except for 18 who were given a placebo.
Earlier in the month, the United States and the European Union approved this vaccine for use within this age group.
Japan approved the Pfizer dose for persons aged 16 and above in February and has agreements for enough shots for 97 million people, while also entering supply deals with British drug maker AstraZeneca and US biotechnology firm Moderna, which have also passed the clinical test indicating its safe usage for age 12 and above.