Japan To Start COVID-19 Vaccines Despite Syringe Shortage

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Japan start coronavirus vaccinations next week, its said Wednesday, but it is scrambling secure suitable syringes so doses won’t go waste.

The country has reached deals three drug firms buy enough vaccine doses for its population 126 million.

But it has not yet announced a detailed roll-out plan for the jabs, less six before the -postponed Olympics begin.

The Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine is likely become the first jab approved for use in Japan in the coming days, following domestic clinical trials required by the country’s health authorities.

“When we have confirmed the vaccine’s efficacy and safety, we start vaccination by the middle next week,” Yoshihide Suga said.

Japan is trying to secure enough special syringes that can extract the full six doses from each vial Pfizer vaccine.

commonly used syringes can only draw five doses — meaning the last needs to be discarded.

The syringe problem could the country to forgo enough Pfizer vaccine doses for up to 12 million , local media estimated.

“At first, we use the syringes that can draw six doses, but as we vaccinate many , these will become scarce,” Health Minister Norihisa Tamura said on Tuesday.

“We are working hard to secure the syringes. We are asking medical equipment manufacturers to increase their production,” he told parliament.

Around 10,000 medical workers will be the first vaccinated in Japan, officials hoping to expand the rollout to the elderly from April.

Toshio Nakagawa, head of the Japan Medical Association, said that a lack of information about the vaccine campaign is causing confusion among medical workers.

But he said at a Wednesday press conference that medics are committed to the vaccination programme, which he called “the most enormous undertaking, at a scale we have never experienced before”.

The jabs “will let us be on the offensive, rather just on defence”, he added.