With Eye On Olympics, Japan Approves Pfizer Vaccine For Distribution

About 20,000 Japanese front line health care workers are expected to be vaccinated by Wednesday.
Posted at 1:37 PM, Feb 14, 2021

The Olympics are scheduled for this July in Japan. But will that country be able to pull it off in a pandemic world?

Backers of the games are encouraged by Japan's announcement that it will distribute its first doses of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine this week.


About 20,000 front line health care workers are expected to be vaccinated by Wednesday as Japan formally approved the vaccine through a fast-tracked emergency-use process.

Japan's vaccine roll out was stalled for months after it asked Pfizer to conduct trials in its own country before agreeing to use the vaccine.

An earthquake in northeastern Japan Sunday raised concerns but the country's Chief Cabinet Secretary, Katsunobu Kato, assured that the vaccines were not affected. He said, "We have contacted Pfizer and had a confirmation that the location where they have kept the vaccines has not been affected by the power outage." 

Along with 144 million Pfizer vaccines, the country will also receive 120 million doses from AstraZeneca and 50 million doses from Moderna by the end of the year. But Japan is not expected to have its entire population vaccinated before it hosts the Olympic Games this summer. Athletes and other attendees will not be required to be vaccinated beforehand.