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Japan starts discussions on administering 3rd COVID vaccine shots

17 September 2021 12:49

TOKYO. KAZINFORM - Japan started discussions Friday on administering third shots of coronavirus vaccines to people at least eight months after their second dose, as the nation looks to respond to the continued spread of the highly contagious Delta variant, Kyodo reports.

Health experts on a government subcommittee will also discuss the idea of giving people a booster vaccine produced by a different manufacturer to that of their first two shots, the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare said.

The potential boosters may start to be administered from November when the government aims to have completed vaccinating all people who wish to be inoculated.

The proposed health ministry plan says, in principle, all three doses should be from the same manufacturer but it will look into more studies before drawing a conclusion.

Three COVID-19 vaccines developed by Pfizer Inc., Moderna Inc. and AstraZeneca Plc are currently available in Japan, all of which are administered in two doses.

In Israel and the United States where third shots are already being given, the booster shot is being administered five months and eight months, respectively, after the second shot.

The Japanese government will also discuss who will be eligible for the third shot and the order of priority, based on data and the progress of other nations.

The vaccine makers have said third shots would be necessary to increase protection, with the number of breakthrough cases in which fully vaccinated people have contracted COVID-19 increasingly being reported in Japan and abroad.

Studies show that COVID-19 antibodies decrease six months after second shots have been administered and vaccine efficacy against the Delta variant becomes lower over time.