April 18, 2021 at 12:40 JST
Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga speaks at a news conference at the White House on April 16. (AP Photo)
Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla has agreed to Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga's request to supply additional doses of the COVID-19 vaccine, the vaccine minister said on Sunday.
"They have agreed on the essentials of the matter," vaccine tsar Taro Kono said during a live interview on Fuji TV, adding that further details including the shipment schedule will be discussed.
Kono did not specify the number of extra doses sought from Pfizer, but said Japan would secure enough supply by the end of September to inoculate all people over 16. The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is the only one approved in Japan.
Suga made the request during a telephone call with Bourla on Saturday, the last day of a three-day visit to Washington.
Japan is seeing a surge of new coronavirus cases in recent weeks, which top health experts say is a fourth wave of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Only 0.9% of the Japanese public had received their first vaccine shot as of Friday, compared with 2.5% in South Korea, and 48% in the United Kingdom.
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