Japan to offer Omicron COVID shot to at least twice-vaccinated people
TOKYO. KAZINFORM - A new COVID-19 vaccine considered effective against the Omicron variant will be available to all people who have completed at least two inoculations from as early as mid-October, the Japanese government said Monday, Kyodo reports.
The bivalent vaccine, so named for its combination of ingredients deriving from existing COVID-19 shots and from the Omicron variant's BA.1 subtype, has been reported to provide some increase in neutralizing antibodies against the BA.5 subtype currently prevalent across the country.
Japan is experiencing a seventh wave of infections fueled by the highly transmissible BA.5 subtype, confirming nearly 250,000 daily new cases last Wednesday.
If the health ministry formally authorizes it, the vaccines currently under development by U.S. pharmaceutical giants Pfizer Inc. and Moderna Inc. could be imported to the country in September.
In Europe, applications for approval are already complete for the same bivalent vaccines Japan is considering using, and preparations for additional vaccinations from the fall onward are going ahead in each country.
Conversely, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has recommended that drug makers develop vaccines that include BA.5 subtype components.