Japan Approves Moderna, AstraZeneca Coronavirus Vaccines

A Japanese government panel approved Covid-19 vaccines developed by Moderna Inc. and AstraZeneca Plc for use, bringing the number of greenlit inoculations in the country to three.

The meeting concluded that both vaccines are effective and Japan is planning to formally approve the shots as soon as Friday, Health Minister Norihisa Tamura told reporters on Thursday.

The country’s lagging rollout is being scrutinized just months before it’s scheduled to host the delayed Tokyo Olympics. The go-ahead for two more shots is expected to add more capacity for residents trying to book appointments. But it’ll also likely fuel growing public frustration and questions, including among business leaders, about why the campaign has been so slow despite Japan already having access to millions of doses.

Shipments of Moderna vaccines arrived in the country weeks ago and have been in storage while waiting for the regulatory nod.

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