Japan to administer first dose of COVID-19 vaccine for free

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The first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine will be administered free of charge to the population in Japan, according to a regulation of the Ministry of Health that received this Friday the approval of its panel of advisers.

The regulations only address the first dose of a potential vaccine, at a time when it is not yet clear how many will be needed to be effective.

It has not been determined, at the moment, whether this policy will cover foreign residents in Japan, a health official said in statements collected by the local Kyodo news agency.

The government has allocated a budget of 671.4 billion yen (5,450 million euros / 6,380 million dollars) to try to ensure enough vaccines for the first half of 2021 to administer to the entire population, estimated at 127 million people.

The Asian country has reached an agreement with the pharmaceutical companies AstraZeneca and Pfizer to receive 120 million doses of each when they successfully develop their vaccines, and is also negotiating with Moderna another 40 million doses at least.

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