Japan passes law to make Covid vaccines free for residents

Tokyo, Sept. 14, 2020 (Xinhua) — Yoshihide Suga, new president of Japan’s ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), poses for a portrait picture in Tokyo, Japan on Sept. 14, 2020. Yoshihide Suga was elected as the new president of the ruling LDP on Monday at a joint plenary meeting of party members from both houses of the Diet and delegates from local chapters. (Nicolas Datiche/Pool via Xinhua/IANS)

Tokyo, Dec 2 (IANS) Japan enacted a law on Wednesday to cover the costs of vaccination against Covid-19 for residents of the country.

Amid rising hopes for the early arrival of vaccines following recent progress and a resurgence of infections in Japan, the country’s House of Councilors unanimously passed a bill to revise the current vaccination law, Xinhua reported.

The revision came as Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga has vowed to secure Covid-19 vaccines for all the residents in Japan in the first half of next year.

Japan has made deals with US pharmaceutical giant Pfizer Inc., US firm Moderna Inc. and Britain’s AstraZeneca Plc to acquire sufficient vaccines for 145 million people following successful development.

The government has set aside a budget of 671.4 billion yen (6.4 billion US dollars) for the particular purpose, according to local media.

The revised bill does not clarify whether the law will allow foreign residents in Japan to get free vaccination.

Although the law strongly suggests people to be inoculated, the government will allow individuals to refuse if the vaccines have not been proved sufficiently safe by the time of approval.




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