© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A medical worker takes a syringe while administering a COVID-19 vaccination at the Tokyo Metropolitan Government office in Tokyo when the Tokyo Metropolitan Government began vaccinating those involved in the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games
TOKYO (Reuters) – Japan is considering the possibility of mixing AstraZeneca's (NASDAQ 🙂 Plc's COVID-19 vaccine with those of other drug manufacturers to expedite vaccine rollouts, the vaccination minister said on Sunday.
Japan, previously referring to the Pfizer (NYSE 🙂 Inc / BioNTech SE and Moderna (NASDAQ 🙂 Inc. approved AstraZeneca's vaccine in July and secured two million doses.
"I asked the Department of Health to provide an opinion on using AstraZeneca vaccines for the first dose and Pfizers for the second, or AstraZeneca for the first shot and Moderna for the second," said vaccine program chief Taro Kono on the Fuji television network.
This could speed up vaccination rollout by shortening the intervals between first and second vaccinations when using the AstraZeneca vaccine, he said.
AstraZeneca's two vaccinations are given eight weeks apart, longer than the other vaccines.
Japan is battling its worst wave of infections powered by the Delta variant, with new infections exceeding 25,000 daily for the first time this month.
The country's vaccination rate lags behind other industrialized nations. According to a Reuters vaccine tracker, Japan vaccinated 54% of its population with at least one dose and vaccinated 43% fully.
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