COVID-19 vaccinations for children between 5 and 11 could start by the end of February, with the government recommending all children receive a shot, particularly those with underlying conditions.

The health ministry approved the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for young children last month, citing a high efficacy rate of 90.7% in preventing COVID-19 during a late-stage clinical trial. But the delay in importing this separate vaccine formula for younger kids has pushed back the schedule for government shipments until next week. Consequentially, the rollout won’t reach full pace until March.

Like the U.S. and Canada, Japan recommends the vaccine for young children. The health ministry says the vaccine is especially recommended for children with congenital heart disease, chronic respiratory illnesses or other pre-existing conditions that increase their risk of severe illness, as the domestic surge of infections is leading to a rising number of serious