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Japan to expand Covid-19 inoculation to kids under 12 from February

 
Tokyo, Nov 17 (IANS) Japan's health ministry said on Wednesday that the Covid-19 vaccination programme is likely to be expanded to children under 12 years old in February next year.

The Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare notified municipalities across the country to begin preparation for the vaccination programme for kids aged between 5 to 11.

Medical institutions responsible for the programme should fully explain the effectiveness and safety of vaccines to children and their parents or guardians, and obtain their consent, according to the ministry, Xinhua news agency reported.

Those institutions also need to provide proper initial treatment when people being inoculated develop side effects, the ministry said.

The vaccination programme would start if it receives permission from the government, as a ministry panel is discussing whether this age group should be inoculated.

Last week, US pharmaceutical company Pfizer submitted an application for inoculating kids aged 5 to 11 years with the vaccine jointly developed with its German partner BioNTech.

Currently, the government has approved the use of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine and US drug maker Moderna vaccine for people aged 12 or older, while the vaccine developed by British firm AstraZeneca and the University of Oxford is limited to be used for people aged 18 or older.

--IANS
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