As the country observes symptoms of a comeback led by a subvariant of fast-spreading omicron, Japan’s health ministry on Tuesday formally authorized Novavax’s COVID-19 vaccine, a fourth foreign-developed weapon to tackle the diseases.
The ministry’s permission comes a day after an expert panel recommended that the first two injections and a booster be given with Novavax’s protein vaccine, which was developed using similar technologies to battle illnesses including the flu and hepatitis B.
Novavax, according to Health Minister Shigeyuki Goto, offers diversity to the existing options and may appeal to individuals who are afraid to employ COVID-19 vaccines like Pfizer’s and Moderna’s, which are built using modern technology.
Jabs with the Novavax vaccination are planned to begin in late May.
The health ministry in Japan recorded 24,164 new cases on Monday. As infections dropped, Japan relaxed all COVID-19 restrictions in March, but experts saw signs of a return in a number of prefectures during a season of traveling and parties for people celebrating graduation and the start of the academic and business year.
The government is attempting to develop enterprises and resurrect the pandemic-ravaged economy. Japan is gradually loosening border controls in response to harsh criticism of its long-standing restrictions on non-resident foreign students, intellectuals, and businesspeople, but Prime Minister Fumio Kishida has stated that inbound tourism would not be resumed anytime soon.
Booster injections have been sluggish in Japan, with fewer than half of the population receiving booster doses from Pfizer and Moderna, mostly mRNA vaccines. Due to popular concern regarding reports of uncommon blood clots, a third vaccine, AstraZeneca, is seldom administered and is mostly supplied to vaccine-scarce Asian nations bilaterally or through a United Nations-backed initiative. Around 80% of the elderly Japanese population has got three doses.
Japan has decided to buy 150 million doses of the Novavax vaccine created by the Maryland business, according to Goto, helping to stabilize vaccine supplies in a country that is completely reliant on foreign imports while developing its own vaccines has lagged behind. Takeda Pharmaceutical Co., Novavax’s Japanese distributor, plans to produce 250 million doses domestically each year.