Japan’s health ministry on Wednesday granted special fast-track approval to U.S. pharmaceutical giant Pfizer Inc.’s updated coronavirus vaccine tailored to protect against the now-prevalent BA.5 subvariant.
The ministry also approved the administration of Pfizer’s coronavirus vaccine targeting the original strain to children aged between 6 months and 4 years old, making it the first COVID-19 vaccine available in Japan for the age group.
Pfizer applied in September for approval of its bivalent vaccine, which works against the Omicron subvariants BA.4 and BA.5 and earlier strains. The Japan unit of Moderna Inc. said Wednesday it has requested that the ministry green light a similar vaccine.
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