The central government will not restart accepting applications for COVID-19 vaccine supplies for workplace inoculations, informed sources said Tuesday, days after applications were temporarily halted.
The move comes after the government determined that the higher-than-anticipated number of applications for the popular program would have led to a shortage of the vaccine used, the sources said.
The COVID-19 vaccine made by U.S. biotech firm Moderna Inc. is used in vaccination programs at workplaces, universities and large-scale sites run by municipalities.
"The government won't resume accepting applications," a senior official said. "There isn't anywhere near enough doses" to meet the level of demand.
The government plans to distribute 50 million doses of the Moderna vaccine by the end of September, including 27 million for workplaces, 6 million for universities and 17 million for large-scale venues run by prefectures and municipalities.
After the workplace inoculation program kicked off on June 21, the government received an avalanche of applications for vaccine supplies.
Applications had totaled some 36.42 million shots, higher than the doses to be allocated for workplace vaccinations, including universities, as of Friday, when the government stopped accepting them.
Regulatory reform minister Taro Kono, who is spearheading the vaccine rollout, told a news conference Tuesday that the government plans to announce what to do with those applications by the end of this week.
Since Japan has secured enough doses of Pfizer Inc.'s vaccine for nearly 100 million people, the country has enough for everyone even if it runs out of the Moderna vaccine, an informed source said.
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