The Japanese Health Ministry’s advisory body has approved a policy to provide all members of the public in Japan with a free dose of vaccine against COVID-19 to avoid the spread of the virus.
As stated, the policy supports free initial dose for all citizens and that subsequent doses needed for survival would be determine by patient’s condition and government capacity amid ongoing uncertainty as to how many doses of a vaccine may need to be administered for it to be effective.
An official from the ministry said that the advisory body was yet to decided whether foreign residents in Japan would be covered by the policy introduced to augment the country’s emergency health response.
According to the source, a vast majority of foreign residents in gainful employment are paying for National Health Insurance in the same way as the Japanese.
The ministry official added, however, that from his personal viewpoint, foreigners should be eligible for the vaccine in the interests of public health.
The government said that by the first half of 2021 it hopes to have secured enough vaccines from a budget of 671.4 billion yen (6.4 billion dollars) to secure and administer enough vaccines to all members of the public.
It has agreed with British drugmaker AstraZeneca Plc. to receive 120 million doses of a potential COVID-19 vaccine being developed with the University of Oxford.
Similarly, Japan has agreed with Pfizer Inc. and its German partner BioNTech SE to receive 120 million doses of their potential vaccine, providing its development proves successful.
Japan was also negotiating with U.S. firm Moderna Inc. for at least 40 million doses of its vaccine candidate.