Japan on Thursday officially approved Moderna's Covid-19 vaccine for its booster programme, while Novavax filed for first approval of its shot in the country.
Moderna's mRNA-type vaccine, used mostly in Japan to date at workplace inoculation sites, was approved for use as a third booster shot for those aged 18 or older, following a recommendation from health ministry experts on Wednesday.
That's the same age range applied to the shot developed by Pfizer and BioNTech, which has been given about 93,000 times as a booster, taking in about 0.1% of the population.
Novavax's protein-based vaccine was submitted to regulators by its Japanese distributor Takeda Pharmaceutical, the company said in a statement. Pending approval, Takeda plans to make the vaccine in Japan and distribute it in early 2022.
After a relatively late start, Japan has fully inoculated almost 80% of its population, the highest among Group of Seven economies. The country has about 31-million doses left between the Pfizer and Moderna shots, with deals in place to get 170-million more in 2022.