Japan’s prime minister has spoked with Pfizer’s boss to speed up the distribution of the country’s booster vaccines, amid concerns over the new Omicron variant.
Prime minister Fumio Kishida, who was re-elected in November, told reporters that his conversation with pharmaceutical CEO Albert Bourla secured two million doses of Pfizer’s antiviral pill.
It forms part of the wider G7 plan to increase booster campaigns and regular testing, alongside non-pharmaceutical measures, after the mergence of a new Covid-19 strain.
The G7 said yesterday that it was “deeply concerned” by the spike in cases, and that the recent developments surrounding the latest variant “should be seen as the biggest current threat to global public health”.
Japan has therefore decided to up its ambition and get boosters to around 31m healthcare workers and high-risk and elderly people within six months from their second jab, instead of eight, Kishida said.
The country has so far found under 50 cases of the latest variant.
The move echoes that of the UK, where the booster programme has been opened up the people aged 12 and above, from Monday.