Japan approves free COVID-19 vaccines for nation
Japan Times -- Dec 02
A bill to provide coronavirus vaccinations free of charge with the central government covering the cost was passed in the Diet, offering a key plan to stem the virus as Japan struggles with its worst-yet wave of infections.

Wednesday’s passage in the Upper House following approval in the more powerful Lower House will bring the law into effect. It also makes local governments responsible for administering the immunizations, according to the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare.

The law includes a provision obliging citizens in principle to make efforts to get vaccinated against the coronavirus. But the provision will not go into effect unless the effectiveness and safety of vaccines are fully confirmed.

The move comes as a new wave of virus infections has prompted the worst-hit areas of the country to call on bars and restaurants to close early, and has forced Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga to partially suspend the Go To Travel campaign, which is intended to shore up suffering regional economies. While the death toll in Japan is by far the lowest in any Group of Seven advanced nation, the country suffered its worst economic downturn on record in the April-June quarter.

Suga has vowed to secure enough doses of vaccine for the “people of the country” by the first half of next year and it remains unclear to what extent foreign residents will be eligible for free vaccinations. Not all Japanese nationals may be enthusiastic about immunization. An Ipsos survey conducted in October showed that 69% of Japanese respondents were willing to get a vaccine if available, compared with the global average of 73%.

新型コロナウイルスのワクチン接種を無料にする「改正予防接種法」が参議院の本会議で全会一致で成立しました。  政府は新型コロナウイルスのワクチンについて、来年前半までに国民全員に提供できる量の確保を目指すとしています。改正法ではワクチンの接種費用を全額、国が負担し、接種によって健康被害が確認された場合は医療費を支給するとしています。製薬会社が支払う損害賠償も国が肩代わりします。ワクチン接種には努力義務が生じますが、有効性や安全性が確認できない場合は適用しないとしています。また、新型コロナウイルスに感染した入国者の隔離措置などについて、来年2月までの期限を最大1年延長できる改正検疫法も成立しました。
News sources: Japan Times, ANNnewsCH
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