Japan begins vaccinating healthcare workers

NHK -- Feb 17
Japan has begun vaccinating healthcare workers at medical facilities across the country.

The vaccine developed by US pharmaceutical company Pfizer and German partner BioNTech will be administered to the first group of about 40,000 healthcare workers at 100 hospitals.

Workers at the National Tokyo Medical Center began receiving their shots on Wednesday. They will get their second dose after three weeks. About 800 workers at the medical center will be part of the initial group to be vaccinated.

State Minister of Health, Labour and Welfare Yamamoto Hiroshi told reporters after observing the vaccinations that this is a big step toward containing the coronavirus.

He said he was deeply moved to see people receiving their injections.

Yamamoto said that the health ministry will work closely with and listen to the opinions of healthcare workers and local governments in doing its best to ensure people in Japan are vaccinated as soon as possible with peace of mind.

The health ministry plans to conduct a four-week survey on 20,000 people in the initial group after their second dose to check for any side effects, such as fever. It will release its findings periodically.

The ministry is preparing to begin inoculations of the remaining 3.7 million healthcare workers in mid-March. It plans to start vaccinating senior citizens aged 65 and older from April.

- NHK

国内で初めてとなる新型コロナウイルスのワクチンの先行接種が東京都の医療機関で始まりました。  東京・目黒区の東京医療センターでは17日午前9時ごろから新木一弘病院長を含む医師や看護師など医療スタッフ合わせて12人に対し、ワクチンの先行接種が始まりました。  先行接種は、国立病院など約100の医療機関で4万人程度の医療従事者が対象となっています。  この病院では800人のスタッフがその対象で、この後に行われる優先接種も合わせると2000人が接種を受けるということです。  厚生労働省は先行接種を受ける人に健康状態を調査し、副反応などの情報を定期的に公表していくとしています。 - ANNnewsCH