Japan’s COVID-19 vaccine drive could slow due to a possible supply shortage of Pfizer vaccinations used in municipal inoculation programs.
Speaking at a ministerial meeting on Wednesday, Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga said the government will share a vaccine distribution schedule with municipalities to ease concerns.
The supply shortage has come as the pace of inoculations nationwide is faster than the government had expected.
The number of doses administered in Japan has exceeded 1 million per day recently, while the country will only be able to import 70 million doses of the Pfizer vaccine from July to September.
Still, the government believes that stocks of the Pfizer vaccine at municipalities will be enough to do the job for the time being, sticking to its goal of vaccinating anyone who is willing to be inoculated by November.
At a separate news conference, Chief Cabinet Secretary Katsunobu Kato said that about 78 million doses of the Pfizer vaccine have been distributed, while 30 million doses had been administered as of Monday.
“There are sufficient inventories,” a government official said.
Meanwhile, administrative reform minister Taro Kono has said the Pfizer vaccine will soon be used in new mass vaccination programs by prefectures and major cities. Until now, such programs have used the Moderna vaccine.
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