EU approves coronavirus vaccine exports to Japan for first time

Japan Times -- Feb 07
The European Union has approved exports of novel coronavirus vaccines to Japan for the first time, EU sources said Friday.

The shipment approval is believed to have been given to the vaccines manufactured in Belgium by U.S. pharmaceutical giant Pfizer Inc.

The health ministry is expected to hold a committee meeting on Friday to decide whether to grant a pharmaceutical approval to Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccines for administration in Japan.

The EU's export approval allows the government to have a clearer picture about implementing its plan to start coronavirus vaccinations in mid-February.

In late January, the EU introduced an advance approval system for exports of COVID-19 vaccines manufactured within the European bloc. As the measure enables the EU to halt exports in cases judged as detrimental to supply contracts signed between the EU and each vaccine maker, there were concerns that vaccine shipments bound for Japan may be affected.

On Feb. 1, during a teleconference call with officials of the European Commission, Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi sought the EU's cooperation over the supply of vaccines. The EU promised to do its best to ensure exports.

Pfizer has concluded a contract with Japan to supply vaccine doses for around 72 million people in the country by the end of the year. Amid the brewing global vaccine battle, however, countries are facing the challenge of securing a stable supply of vaccines.

Japan has agreed to secure more than 140 million doses from Pfizer, 120 million from AstraZeneca PLC of Britain and 50 million from U.S. firm Moderna Inc., the health ministry has said.

- Japan Times

ワクチン接種の開始に向けて前進。 EU(ヨーロッパ連合)が、日本へのワクチンの輸出を承認したことがわかった。 EUの通商関係者によると、EUは、5日までに日本に向けては初めてとなるワクチンの輸出を承認した。 輸出が承認されたのは、ベルギーで生産されているファイザーのワクチンとみられる。 EUは1月30日から、EU域内で製造されたワクチンを輸出する際には、事前の申告と承認を義務づけている。 これは、アストラゼネカのワクチン供給が遅れる見込みとなったことから、EUがワクチン確保の動きを強化させたもので、日本を含むEU以外への供給が順調に進むか懸念されていた。 日本政府は、ファイザーのワクチンが14日にも日本に到着する方向で調整している。 - FNNプライムオンライン