Japan eyes 1 year extension to free COVID vaccination scheme

Japan's health ministry plans to extend a free COVID-19 vaccination program until March of next year.

NHK has learned that officials are working on plans to extend the scheme, which is currently due to expire at the end of next month.

The officials want to reduce the number of patients who develop serious symptoms through the extended program. They plan to make free vaccinations available to those who are most vulnerable, such as seniors, in the spring and summer, and to all eligible people in the latter half of the year.

The ministry is scheduled to make a formal decision in early March, following discussions at a meeting of experts on Wednesday.