Japan approves Pfizer coronavirus booster shots

Japan's health ministry has approved the Pfizer vaccine for coronavirus booster shots.

The ministry gave the approval on Thursday to administer third doses to people about eight or more months after their second ones.

It plans to begin administering the booster shots to healthcare workers starting in December and to senior citizens from January.

The Pfizer vaccine is the first to be approved for third doses in Japan.

People aged 12 and older are currently eligible for two doses of the vaccine. Booster shots will be given to those aged 18 and older for the meantime as data on the vaccine's effectiveness and safety are still lacking for people below those ages. The ministry plans to lower the eligible age for boosters once Pfizer provides more data.

The ministry is also considering the use of the Moderna vaccine for booster shots at firms and universities from around March.