Japan approved its first COVID-19 vaccine, clearing the way for mass inoculations as the nation prepares to host the postponed 2020 Olympics.
“The health minister today gave a special approval to the Pfizer vaccine,” the prime minister’s office said in a tweet.
Japan is now expected to put the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine in the arms of 10,000 to 20,000 medical workers from as early as Wednesday, before making it and other coronavirus vaccines available for more medical workers and the elderly from April.
The government is yet to outline the exact rollout schedule for the rest of its population of 126 million people.
Olympics officials have insisted that the Tokyo Games will take place even though COVID-19 continues to affect the entire world.
Meanwhile, the number of coronavirus cases globally has gone past 108 million, with deaths exceeding 2.3 million. More than 60 million people have recovered, according to data published by Johns Hopkins University in the United States.