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The health ministry is planning to move ahead with formal approval of the coronavirus vaccine developed by U.S. pharmaceutical giant Pfizer Inc. on Sunday, sources familiar with the matter said Thursday.

The Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry had intended to approve the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine on Monday. With the acceleration of its administrative procedures, the government is considering starting vaccinations on Wednesday for around 20,000 doctors and nurses who have consented to receive the shots, the sources said.

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