Japan aims to start COVID-19 vaccinations in Feb.

NHK -- Dec 19
NHK has learned that Japan's health ministry has ordered local governments to prepare coronavirus vaccination programs, so that medical workers can begin receiving inoculations in February.

Health ministry officials presented a draft vaccination plan to prefectural and municipal governments nationwide on Friday.

The draft says a system should be created to allow about 10,000 healthcare professionals to start getting vaccinated around late February.

Inoculations for the roughly 3 million remaining medical workers are expected to start around mid-March.

The ministry is also hoping to start inoculating elderly citizens around late March.

Other people may be able to receive a vaccination in April or later. Priority will be given to those with underlying health conditions.

The draft says local governments are being told to choose vaccination venues and issue coupons that will enable holders to get a shot.

The ministry is aiming to start offering the vaccinations during the first half of next year. It has signed contracts with three overseas pharmaceutical companies. The firms will supply Japan with doses, after they have successfully developed vaccines.