The minister in charge of the vaccination program in Japan has said that people who have been vaccinated with the Pfizer vaccine in the country have been suffering from anaphylaxis at a higher rate as compared to people in the US and Europe. The incidents of anaphylaxis reaction in people who have been given the Pfizer vaccine have been quite high in Japan. The health ministry of the country has said that another eight cases of anaphylaxis have been reported across the country. Around 25 cases of anaphylaxis, which is a severe and potentially fatal allergic reaction, have been reported in the country so far. Nearly 148000 health care workers have been vaccinated with the Pfizer vaccine. Out of 25 anaphylaxis cases, 24 of them are women, said the experts. Experts have compared the rate of reaction with five cases in every 1 million doses which have been distributed in the US and 20 cases per million in the UK. Although, Japan is far behind in its vaccine rollout plan and it might change as more people are vaccinated in the country, said the experts. Japan is all set to vaccinate around 4.8 million health care workers in the country. Authorities will start vaccinating people in the age group of 65 years and above from mid-April. People with underlying health issues such as hypertension and diabetes and those who are working at elderly care facilities are scheduled to receive the shots next.
People who are given the COVID19 vaccine that has been developed by Pfizer and its partner BioNtech SE have been asked to stay at the vaccination site for 15 minutes after the vaccination to confirm if there is any sign of anaphylaxis and other side effects. The data from the Ministry of Health Labor and Welfare has shown that signs of anaphylaxis and other side effects are seen within 5 to 30 minutes of receiving the vaccine. These signs include sore throat, hives, and breathing issues. All patients, who have been dealing with such reactions after the vaccination, have recovered after they have received treatment, said the experts. Health Minister Norihisa Tamura has said that experts are going to form a committee to review the issue. Experts will try to find out whether the symptoms of the allergic reaction, which have been observed in Japan, are as severe as those, which have been reported in other countries. The officials from Pfizer have said that their vaccine has been proved to be 95 percent effective in preventing the COVID19 infection. The Prime Minister of Japan Yoshihide Suga has said that vaccination is the deciding factor in ending the pandemic. On the other hand, a survey has revealed that only 63.1 percent of people in Japan have expressed their willingness to receive the vaccine. Around 27.4 percent of people have said that they do not want to be vaccinated due to fear of the side effects.
The cases of COVID19 have seen a steady decline since Prime Minister Suga has announced a state of emergency in the Tokyo metropolitan area and other regions of the country in January 2021. However, the decline in COVID cases has started to fade away and the government has extended the emergency until 21 March. The government has decided to extend the emergency due to the exhausting capacity of the hospitals and lingering fear of the new strains of the virus that might be more contagious. Shigeru Omi, the head of Japan’s COVID19 sub-committee has said that the strains that have been found in the UK, Brazil, and South Africa, can become prevalent in Japan as well sooner or later. He has said that the new strains can replace the existing strain in the country very soon. Therefore, there is a need to ramp up the efforts to keep a tab on the spread of these new strains.