Japan prepares to administer COVID booster shots

Japan's health ministry is calling on local governments to make preparations to administer a third dose of coronavirus vaccines starting December.

A ministry panel said last Thursday that people who have already received two shots are eligible to get a booster if they want.

The ministry does not plan to set priorities for a third jab.
But it will offer a booster vaccine to people about eight months after their second shot. Health care workers are set to begin in December, followed by senior citizens in January.

The ministry is calling on municipalities to set reservation methods, secure vaccination venues, and send out coupons to people about eight months after their second shot.
The health ministry says it expects to secure enough supply. It plans to make an official decision on approving booster shots of the Pfizer vaccine on November 10.
A total of 4.1 million doses will be distributed to municipalities and medical institutions in the week of November 15 and 22, after the additional dose is approved.

The ministry plans to review the Moderna vaccine if the company submits an application for booster approval. If approved, the ministry hopes to begin distributing in January and start offering in February.

The ministry also plans to make a decision this month on whether to allow boosters that are from a different maker than the original inoculation.