Japan-made COVID-19 vaccine set to be used for first time

Japan's health ministry has announced that it will buy 1.4 million doses of a coronavirus vaccine produced by Daiichi Sankyo after the firm obtains official approval to manufacture and sell it.

The ministry said on Friday that it agreed with the major Japanese pharmaceutical firm on the purchase. Health authorities plan to deliver the vaccine to municipalities as the first Japanese-made one available for practical use.

Daiichi Sankyo applied in September for approval of the vaccine targeting the Omicron XBB.1.5 coronavirus subvariant.

The ministry is expected to give the approval after deliberations by an expert panel this month. It plans to start delivering the vaccine to municipalities as soon as early December.

Japan has been using vaccines developed by foreign firms such as Pfizer and Moderna. Daiichi Sankyo's earlier vaccine targeting the conventional type of coronavirus strain was not used for inoculation despite gaining approval in August.