TOKYO (Kyodo) -- Japan received its second shipment of Pfizer Inc.'s COVID-19 vaccine on Sunday as it continues inoculating an initial group of health workers in the first phase of its vaccination rollout.
The shipment of up to around 450,000 doses of the first vaccine against the novel coronavirus that Japan has approved for use arrived at Narita airport near Tokyo after the European Union gave the green light under its new vaccine export controls.
Japan, which received its first shipment of up to 386,100 doses from Pfizer's factory in Belgium on Feb. 12, launched its vaccination program on Wednesday for 40,000 health care workers, starting first in the Tokyo metropolitan area.
The Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare said 5,039 people had been inoculated at 68 medical facilities as of Friday.
The government said Saturday it had received reports of hives and chills as possible side effects of the vaccine developed by Pfizer of the United States and Germany's BioNTech SE.
But there have been no reports of severe allergic reactions, also known as anaphylaxis, or deaths after shots were administered.
Of the 40,000 health care workers, 20,000 are taking part in a study to track potential side effects caused by the vaccine, keeping daily records for seven weeks after receiving the first of two shots. The shots will be administered three weeks apart.
The next group in line to be vaccinated from March is an estimated 4.7 million other front-line health care workers across the country.
People aged 65 or older, a group of about 36 million, will begin being inoculated from April, followed by people with preexisting conditions and those working at elderly care facilities, then finally the general population, according to the schedule set by the health ministry.