The Japanese government has officially approved the Covid-19 vaccine made by the US pharmaceutical company Pfizer.
On February 14, Japan’s Ministry of Health and Welfare said it had licensed the use of the Pfizer vaccine after a decision was made by a panel of experts on Feb. 12, based on its effectiveness and safety assessment of the product. This is the first Covid-19 vaccine approved in this country. Pfizer applied for vaccine approval in Japan from December 2020.
The vaccine will be given to people 16 years of age and older in Japan. Two injections three weeks apart.
Immunization is scheduled to begin as early as February 17. Health-care workers were the first to be vaccinated, then the elderly, and eventually others.
Under a contract with the Japanese government, Pfizer pledged to provide enough vaccines to 72 million people by the end of this year.
Previously, on February 5, the British company AstraZeneca had applied for a license to use the nCoV vaccine in Japan. In addition, American biotechnology company Moderna is also conducting clinical trials in this country.
The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has urgently approved Pfizer’s Covid-19 vaccine since December 2020, for use by frontline health workers and the elderly in nursing homes. The decision was considered a historic turning point in the pandemic that claimed the lives of nearly 500,000 Americans at that time.
The Pfizer vaccine is prepared based on the genetic molecule RNA, which stimulates human cells to make viral proteins. The immune system then comes into contact with the protein and produces antibodies, the immune cells recognize and destroy the pathogen.
On January 20, researchers confirmed the product was effective with the UK’s nCoV variant. The information is published in the journal bioRxiv Biomedical, based on analysis of blood test results of 16 volunteers. Previously, these people were exposed to a synthetic virus of 10 characteristic mutations of variant B.1.1.7. This variant is said to have the ability to spread rapidly at a rate of 56%. The antibodies in the blood of the vaccinated volunteers inactivated B.1.1.7 as effective as the original strain of nCoV.
Manh Kha (Follow NHK)