The Japanese government is considering offering COVID-19 vaccinations for free to all residents, sources close to the matter said Wednesday.

The government aims to have as many people as possible receive the vaccine since the virus is characterized as being very contagious and many people are at high risk of developing severe symptoms if infected with it, the sources said.

Last week, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said the government wants to secure vaccines for all citizens by the first half of 2021 as part of a set of measures against the virus, which causes COVID-19.