Photo/Illutration Taro Kono, the administrative reform minister who is in charge of the COVID-19 vaccine rollout, speaks at a news conference on Aug. 10. (Junya Sakamoto)

Japan has secured enough Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine to provide a booster shot to people who desire one, according to Taro Kono, the administrative reform minister who is in charge of the COVID-19 vaccine rollout.

Kono during a TV program aired on Aug. 16 said the central government has reached an agreement with the U.S. pharmaceutical company to supply enough vaccine for a third dose to boost immunity against the novel coronavirus. 

He said he will disclose the details “at some point in the near future.”

The central government is still discussing if it is necessary to provide an additional third dose of COVID-19 vaccines.

“At least for the next year, we have secured enough doses to provide a third shot to people who have received two doses of either Pfizer’s or Moderna’s vaccine this year,” Kono said.

But he added, “We need to see how much the immunity is lasting” among people who received early vaccinations, such as health care workers and elderly people.

At the same time, he said the government will prioritize providing the second shot to people over offering a third shot to those who are fully vaccinated.

The government in July signed an agreement with Moderna Inc. to supply an additional 50 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine.

These vaccines will be provided as early as the beginning of next year.

The government is also expected to receive 150 million doses of vaccines manufactured by Novavax Inc., a U.S. company, starting from the beginning of next year, but the vaccine has yet to be approved in the United States.

Kono said the government has secured the Novavax vaccines as a backup to the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines.

Whether people should receive the same maker’s vaccine for their third shot will depend on future research findings, Kono said.