Japan asks Pfizer for more coronavirus vaccine as nation's inoculation drive lags

Japan asks Pfizer for more coronavirus vaccine as nation's inoculation drive lags
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Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga asked Pfizer for more COVID-19 vaccine as his country lags behind others in its inoculation drive, the Associated Press reported.

Japan started its inoculation drive in mid-February, but has only covered about 1 percent of the country so far due vaccine shortages caused by the European Union's export controls, according to the AP. 

Suga spoke with Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla about the vaccine shortage issue and asked him to provide enough supplies to cover all eligible recipients in Japan by September and to ensure the stable and prompt delivery of the ongoing vaccine shipments, Japanese officials said Sunday, Associated Press reported. 

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A member of Suga’s cabinet told a Japanese talk show on Sunday that both sides have “practically reached an agreement” on the vaccines. 

The phone call reportedly followed President BidenJoe BidenHouse passes 8B defense policy bill House approves bill to ease passage of debt limit hike Senate rejects attempt to block Biden's Saudi arms sale MORE hosting Suga on Friday for his first bilateral meeting since becoming president, with the two leaders outlining their strategic vision for the Indo-Pacific in the face of growing challenges from China and North Korea.

Japan has ordered for 344 million doses of vaccines for this year which will be enough for the entire population.  

The country has added 4,532 new COVID-19 cases on Saturday, bringing the total number of cases to 525,218 since the pandemic began.