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COVID vaccines

Japan greenlights omicron COVID vaccines from Pfizer, Moderna

Rollout to start as early as September with vulnerable groups

A flight attendant receives a COVID-19 vaccine at Haneda Airport. Japan intends for the new booster to be administered through such workplace vaccinations. (Photo by Mizuho Miyazaki)

TOKYO -- Japan's health ministry granted fast-track approval on Monday for vaccines targeting the omicron variant of the coronavirus, aiming to get shots into arms as early as this month.

The new boosters are tailored to offer protection against the BA.1 omicron subvariant along with the original strain of the virus. They also are expected to be effective against the BA.5 version now dominant in Japan.

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