A syringe with a vaccine is seen ahead of trials by volunteers testing for the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), and taking part in the country's human clinical trial for potential vaccines at the Wits RHI Shandukani Research Centre in Johannesburg, South Africa, August 27, 2020. (REUTERS/Siphiwe Sibeko)
Members of the public in Japan will get vaccinated against the new coronavirus for free, according to a health ministry policy approved Friday by its advisory panel, in a bid to curb serious and fatal cases of infection.
The Japanese government is trying to secure enough vaccines by the first half of 2021 to administer to all members of the public, having earmarked a budget of 671.4 billion yen (US$6.4 billion).
It has agreed with British drugmaker AstraZeneca Plc and US pharmaceutical giant Pfizer Inc. to receive vaccines when successfully developed, and is also negotiating with US firm Moderna Inc. for a supply.
The Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry will also submit a bill to amend the country's immunization law to an extraordinary Diet session expected to start later this month, so that the state can redress patients and pay damages instead of companies in case a vaccination causes serious side effects.
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