• Kyodo

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The Defense Ministry said Sunday it administered Moderna Inc.'s coronavirus vaccine to Self-Defense Forces members, the first confirmed use of the vaccine in Japan, as the SDF will start running mass vaccination centers the following day.

The move also involved nurses from the private sector who will work at the centers which will open in Tokyo and Osaka on Monday for inoculations of older residents.

The Moderna vaccine was granted fast-track approval by the government Friday along with one developed by Britain's AstraZeneca PLC. Japan now has three available vaccines, also including one developed by U.S. pharmaceutical company Pfizer Inc. and its German partner BioNTech SE already in use.

At the mass vaccination centers, aimed at speeding up Japan's sluggish inoculation drive, the SDF are expected to use the Moderna vaccine.

The AstraZeneca shot will not be used immediately in Japan amid lingering concerns over rare cases of blood clots being reported overseas, the health ministry has said.

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