U.S. drugmaker Pfizer Inc. on Monday formally authorized the use of its COVID-19 vaccine for around 4 million children age 12 to 15 in Japan, following similar moves overseas to allow adolescents to be vaccinated.

The pharmaceutical giant revised its guidelines to lower the age restriction in Japan from the previous 16 to 12. The amendment also enabled undiluted, thawed vials of its COVID-19 vaccine to be stored at refrigerator temperature for a longer period of time, from the previous five days to up to one month.

Following the Pfizer announcement, a health ministry panel decided Monday to add children age 12 through 15 to the list of those eligible to receive COVID-19 vaccine jabs for free, in accordance with the Preventive Vaccination Law.