TOKYO (JAPAN) – The Japanese minister in charge of the coronavirus vaccination drive said on Tuesday that the EU restrictions on the export of vaccines could delay the inoculation initiative, adding the government is expected to prolong the state of emergency to stem the spread of the pandemic.
The nation is set to begin its inoculation drive this month and any potential delay could trigger doubts about a government bid to secure enough doses for everyone before the start of the Games this summer.
“The EU has enacted this export transparency mechanism, and it is affecting Japan’s supply schedule,” Taro Kono, the minister in charge of the vaccine effort, said.
The nation relies on foreign vaccine manufacturers and Kono said last week that growing nationalism over the doses could lead to retaliation and disruptions to global supplies.
Tokyo has secured rights to procure more than 500 million vaccine doses from several firms in the West, which are more than enough for its 126 million population.
However, the dependence on foreign vaccine makers and a requirement that the vaccines pass through domestic trials have delayed its drive.
According to NHK, the approval for the Pfizer Inc vaccine could come on Feb. 12.