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Japan to buy 10,500 freezers for COVID-19 vaccines

Japan to buy 10,500 freezers for COVID-19 vaccines

FILE PHOTO: A photo illustration showing vials labelled "COVID-19 / Coronavirus vaccine / Injection only" and a medical syringe are seen in front of a displayed Pfizer logo. (Photo: REUTERS/Dado Ruvic)

TOKYO: Japan will buy 10,500 deep freezers to store novel coronavirus vaccines and is considering purchasing dry ice in bulk as it prepares to protect its population from the virus, the Ministry of Health said on Thursday (Dec 10).

Japan has agreements to buy a total of 290 million doses of the vaccines from Pfizer, AstraZeneca and Moderna, or enough for 145 million people if everyone gets two shots as required.

READ: Japan residents to get free COVID-19 vaccine

Pfizer's vaccines need to be kept at around minus 75 degrees Celsius, and Moderna's at about minus 20 degrees Celsius, posing logistics problems.

Pfizer, as well as Moderna and its domestic partner Takeda Pharmaceutical, plan to build networks to keep vaccines at the appropriate temperature as they are distributed to where they will be deployed, the ministry said in a statement.

READ: Commentary: Japan shows how not to deal with a COVID-19 outbreak

READ: Japan preparing to send military nurses to areas hit hard by COVID-19

NEW DAILY CASES IN TOKYO TOP 600

The number of new coronavirus infections in Japan's capital has topped 600 in a day for the first time.

Experts on Tokyo's virus task force say the surge in infections has placed an added burden on hospitals, making it difficult for many of them to carry out treatment for ordinary patients.

Tokyo reported 602 new cases on Thursday, while the daily tally for the entire nation was 2,810. Japan has reported 168,573 infections since the pandemic began, with 2,465 deaths.

Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike is urging residents to avoid non-essential outings, especially senior citizens and their families. Tokyo has issued a request for drinking places to close early until Dec 17.

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Source: AGENCIES/ga

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