Japan plans to make the Covid-19 vaccination program free of charge to all citizens.
The government will bear all the costs to ensure by the end of June next year there is enough supply for both domestic and foreign. The amount deducted from the reserve fund according to the budget for additional finance in 2020 is 670 billion yen (6.3 billion USD).
The plan is expected to be announced at the Health Ministry advisory board meeting early next week. With this decision, Japan hopes to encourage citizens to vaccinate as soon as the vaccine is released. This is also part of an effort to prepare for an outbreak of both Covid-19 and seasonal flu during autumn and winter. On October 1, the country began implementing a nationwide seasonal flu vaccine program.
Before that, Japan signed basic agreements to receive supplies from the US pharmaceutical company Pfizer and British AstraZeneca, which are leading the race to develop vaccines.
At the Cabinet meeting on September 8, the government decided to use the reserve fund to ensure the number of injections for the people. Currently, the country is preparing the necessary facilities to distribute the vaccine, in case the product is approved later this year.
The Committee specialized in dealing with Covid-19 said that doctors, the elderly and the elderly with background conditions will be given priority to be vaccinated. The Ministry of Health will discuss age ranges and other priority audiences, compiling a specific plan this fall.
In addition to funding to buy vaccines, the government can assist each locality in the work of providing vaccines to people. Supply is expected to reach 15-20 million doses in the first half of October, possibly reaching maximum levels in November.
In response to the needs of the population with the availability of vaccines available, the Department calls for vaccination for persons 65 years of age and older, patients with a history of heart failure and respiratory failure between the ages of 60 and 64. This is the group that needs regular vaccines according to the vaccination law.
As of October 2, Japan recorded more than 83,000 positive cases and 1,571 deaths.
Thuc Linh (Follow Japan Times)