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A health ministry panel on Friday approved AstraZeneca PLC’s COVID-19 vaccine for people age 40 and over, with Japan aiming to accelerate its rollout of shots amid a dearth of supplies among some local governments and a surge in new cases.

The vaccine obtained the health ministry’s approval for emergency use in late May, but it was not immediately used because the government had been weighing whether to place age restrictions on it following reports of very rare blood clots overseas — a development that forced more than a dozen countries to halt or restrict its use at one point.

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