Japan mulls letting paramedics give vaccinations

Japan's government is considering adding paramedics and clinical laboratory technicians to the list of those allowed to administer coronavirus vaccines.

Aside from doctors and nurses, dentists are currently allowed to vaccinate people in areas with medical personnel shortages.

But calls are growing to allow more medical personnel to help in the inoculation efforts, especially in populous urban areas.

On Monday, Prime Minister Suga Yoshihide said the government is in talks with groups representing paramedics and other specialists. He pledged all-out efforts to secure tens of thousands of personnel to make up for the shortages.

The health ministry plans to convene a panel of experts at an early date to determine if it is appropriate to allow paramedics, clinical laboratory technicians, radiological technicians and pharmacists to administer coronavirus shots.

According to Japanese laws, vaccinations can only be done by doctors, or nurses working under their instruction.

The panel is expected to discuss ways to resolve the illegality of allowing other medical professionals to administer vaccines by adding special conditions.

Some officials say it may be difficult to add pharmacists to the list, as they are unfamiliar with giving shots. The panel is expected to discuss the idea of pharmacists conducting pre-vaccination inquiries in place of doctors.