Photo/Illutration The COVID-19 vaccine manufactured by U.S. drugmaker Pfizer Inc. (Provided by Pfizer Inc.)

The health ministry on Feb. 14 approved the first use of a vaccine to combat the novel coronavirus.

It is expected to start inoculating health workers with the Pfizer-BionNTech vaccine on Feb. 17.

The vaccine was developed by Pfizer Inc. and its German partner.

Japan has also secured deals for vaccines developed by AstraZeneca Plc, Moderna Inc. and Novavax Inc.