The third batch of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine arrived in Japan on Monday as the country prepares to expand its inoculation program. Including the shipment of up to 526,500 doses, the government has said it will receive up to 2.66 million doses in March alone.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Katsunobu Kato said Monday that a clinical study is underway in Japan for Johnson & Johnson’s single-dose vaccine, which the U.S. government recently approved for emergency use.

Takeda Pharmaceutical said last week it has also started a trial in Japan of a vaccine developed by U.S. biotech firm Novavax, planning to domestically produce and supply it in the second half of 2021.

The third batch of Pfizer Inc.'s COVID-19 vaccine arrived at Narita Airport on Monday. | KYODO
The third batch of Pfizer Inc.’s COVID-19 vaccine arrived at Narita Airport on Monday. | KYODO

Meanwhile, Japan is unhappy about the novel method China is using to test some new arrivals in the country for the novel coronavirus: anal swabs.

Noting this method “has not been confirmed anywhere else in the world,” Kato said that Tokyo had received complaints of “psychological distress” from some Japanese citizens who had to undergo the anal testing ordeal in China.

Monday’s (and last Monday’s) new COVID-19 cases by prefecture (20 or over): Chiba 127 (99), Tokyo 121 (178), Saitama 61 (101), Osaka 56 (62), Ibaraki 53 (14), Kanagawa 52 (96), Aichi 32 (30), Hokkaido 29 (21), Hyogo 21 (24). Source: Japan COVID-19 Coronavirus Tracker