ASTRAZENECA SEEKS JAPAN OK OF ITS COVID-19 VACCINE
Britain's AstraZeneca Plc said Friday it has formally filed a request for Japan's health ministry to approve its novel coronavirus vaccine, making it the second drugmaker to do so after US pharmaceutical giant Pfizer Inc., Mainichi Shimbun reported on February 5, 2021.
The firm is seeking fast-track approval on the basis of trials held overseas and in Japan. A clinical study of the AstraZeneca vaccine developed with the University of Oxford began in Japan last August and the company said it has completed vaccinating all 256 participants in the trial.
AstraZeneca is set to provide 120 million shots, enough for about 60 million people, to Japan.
Unlike the Pfizer vaccine, AstraZeneca's does not need to be stored and transported at subzero temperatures, making it easier to handle.
Pfizer, which applied for Japanese government approval for its vaccine in December, is expected to get the green light on Feb. 15, when the ministry holds a panel meeting, according to sources close to the matter.
Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga has pledged to secure vaccines for Japan's entire population of 126 million. Earlier this week, however, he admitted the country has fallen behind other countries in beginning to administer shots, citing an abundance of caution in ensuring their safety.
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