Asia Pacific

Pfizer agreed to supply additional COVID-19 vaccines, says Japan’s vaccine minister

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A medical worker fills a syringe with a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccine as Japan launches its inoculation campaign, at Tokyo Medical Center in Tokyo, Japan February 17, 2021. Behrouz Mehri/Pool via REUTERS

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TOKYO, April 18 (Reuters) - Pfizer (PFE.N) CEO Albert Bourla has agreed to Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga’s request to supply additional doses of the COVID-19 vaccine, the vaccine minister of Japan said on Sunday.

"They have agreed on the essentials of the matter," vaccine tzar Taro Kono said during a live interview on Fuji TV, adding that further details including the shipment schedule will be discussed.

Kono did not specify the number of extra doses sought from Pfizer, but said Japan would secure enough supply by the end of September to inoculate all people over 16. The Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine is the only one approved in Japan.

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Suga made the request during a telephone call with Bourla on Saturday, the last day of a three-day visit to Washington.

Japan is seeing a surge of new coronavirus cases in recent weeks, which top health experts say is a fourth wave of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Only 0.9% of the Japanese public had received their first vaccine shot as of Friday, compared with 2.5% in South Korea, and 48% in the United Kingdom.

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Reporting by Sakura Murakami; Editing by Lincoln Feast.

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