• Kyodo, Staff Report


The government said Saturday it has received a report of a vaccine recipient breaking out in hives, but no serious side effects have been reported in the wake of the vaccination rollout that began Wednesday.

The case occurred at a hospital in Toyama Prefecture on Friday, the office of Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga said in a tweet.

Japan launched its vaccination effort on Wednesday, initially covering 40,000 medical workers at 100 hospitals across the country.

Japan will receive its second shipment of the vaccine developed by U.S. drugmaker Pfizer Inc. and Germany’s BioNTech SE on Sunday, Taro Kono, the minister in charge of vaccination efforts, said Friday as the rollout gradually expands to hospitals across the country.

Kono said at a news conference the shipment of up to 452,790 shots is set to arrive after the European Union gave approval under its new vaccine export controls.

Japan, which received its first shipment of up to 386,100 doses from Pfizer’s factory in Belgium on Feb. 12, launched its vaccination program on Wednesday starting with an initial group of 40,000 health care workers.

The Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry said 5,039 people had been inoculated across 68 medical facilities as of 5 p.m. Friday, with no reports of severe allergic reactions, also known as anaphylaxis, after shots were administered. Hospitals in 31 prefectures had begun vaccinations by Friday, with the rollout expected to expand to 100 hospitals by next week.

If a person dies due to side effects following a coronavirus vaccination, the government will pay ¥44.2 million in compensation to the bereaved family, according to the health ministry.

Japan is aiming to secure enough vaccines for all residents by the end of June, but the outlook for further shipments and a speedy rollout of the vaccines has been clouded by the European Union’s export restrictions.

Japan has been also trying to beef up its stocks of special syringes that squeeze an extra sixth shot out of each vaccine vial amid a global shortage of the products. So far, the country has secured enough special syringes to cover the first 40,000 health care workers.

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