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COVID vaccines

Japan limits 4th COVID jab to elderly, those with medical conditions

Availability of shots for others still pending

Members of a Japanese health ministry panel meet in Tokyo on April 27 to discuss a plan to administer a fourth round of COVID-19 vaccine shots.   © Kyodo

TOKYO (Kyodo) -- A Japanese health ministry panel approved on Wednesday a plan to initially administer a fourth COVID-19 vaccine shot only to the elderly and people with underlying medical conditions.

The fourth shots of Moderna and Pfizer vaccines will be available five months after a person received their third shot, according to the plan.

People aged 60 or older, as well as those 18 or older who suffer from a medical condition, are eligible for a fourth shot. The vaccination will be free like the first three.

The panel also said the fourth shot may be made more widely available later.

"We will examine the scope of coverage while looking at future evidence and the infection situation," said Takaji Wakita, head of the National Institute of Infectious Diseases and leader of the panel, at the panel meeting.

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