Japan to offer free COVID-19 vaccine next Thursday

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Japan to offer free COVID-19 vaccine next Thursday

TOKYO Kyodo plans to roll out Pfizer Inc.'s coronavirus vaccine, designed to protect against the BA. A person familiar with the matter said Friday that a 5 subvariant will be 5 next Thursday after a panel approved providing the shots free of charge.

The ministry panel also gave the nod to offer free COVID 19 vaccines for children between 6 months and 4 years old, with the ministry planning to begin inoculations on October 24.

The health ministry is urging the public to take the shots to stem a surge of infections during the year-end holidays and to make sure that, through widespread vaccination, it will not coincide with the seasonal flu.

The vaccine for children aged 6 months to 4 years, also to be provided by Pfizer, is the first COVID 19 shot available in Japan for that age group. In the year 2019 it targets the original strain discovered in Wuhan, China.

People aged 12 and over who have received two previous shots will be able to get the bivalent vaccine next Thursday. The panel will discuss the interval between vaccinations on October 19. Another person familiar with the matter said it could be shortened to three months from the current five months.