Tokyo [Japan], May 10 (ANI/Sputnik): Japan Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga urged the government on Monday to accelerate the approval process for homemade COVID-19 vaccines.
"We need to consider revising the system, to approve (trials) more quickly," Suga said speaking at a House of Representatives Budget Committee meeting as quoted by Kyodo news.
According to Suga, Japanese drug makers are lagging behind foreign rivals. Shionogi & Co. are one of several companies developing local-made COVID-19 vaccines, however, clinical studies have been struggling to get domestic vaccines approved on the market.
For a vaccine to be released, it is required to pass clinical studies including thousands of participants to assess both the safety and effectiveness of the vaccines. Due to the small number of positive community COVID-19 cases in Japan, the evaluation of the effectiveness of the vaccines is proving challenging.
Additionally, vaccination programs using vaccines developed in the United States and Europe are even further slowing down this process.
Japan is currently stuck behind many other major countries in its vaccination rollout scheme with 240,000 elderly people have received only the first dose of their vaccine so far.
As of Monday, the government is planning to administer vaccines to over 9 million people (a quarter of the country's elderly population) in the next two weeks. The entire elderly population will be vaccinated by the end of June.
Japan is currently facing a third state of emergency since the outbreak of the pandemic. Facilities serving alcohol, large shopping malls, and theme parks have all shut down. As of May 9, Japan's daily infections rose to over 6,000 for the third consecutive day. (ANI/Sputnik)