Japan officially approves 2 more vaccines

Japan's health ministry has officially approved two more coronavirus vaccines, one developed by US drug maker Moderna and the other by British-based AstraZeneca and the University of Oxford.

The authorization comes after the ministry's panel of experts gave the vaccines the green light on Thursday.

The ministry announced the formal approval on Friday, saying the vaccines' efficacy and safety have been confirmed.

The Moderna vaccine is expected to be administered at large-scale vaccination sites due to open in Tokyo and Osaka next Monday.

But the AstraZeneca vaccine will not be used in public inoculation programs for the time being because of rare blood clots. The health ministry plans to carefully decide what age groups can be given the AstraZeneca vaccine.

Japan's government hopes the approval will help speed up the vaccine rollout across the country.