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Blocked by the EU's export ban, Japan got its first AstraZeneca vaccines from the US instead

Published by Business Insider on Thu, 01 Apr 2021

<p><img src="https://static2.businessinsider.com/image/6065980f6183e10019819ae9-1778/GettyImages-1305415949.jpg" alt="Japan vaccine vaccination COVID-19" data-mce-source="Yoshikazu Tsuno - Pool/Getty Images" data-mce-caption="A medical worker receives a dose of COVID-19 vaccine at the Tokyo Metropolitan Cancer and Infectious Diseases Center Komagome Hospital on March 05, 2021 in Tokyo, Japan. Japanese government will extend the COVID-19 state of emergency, which was intended initially until March 7, for two weeks for the Tokyo metropolitan area." border="0"></p><p></p><bi-shortcode id="summary-shortcode" data-type="summary-shortcode" class="mceNonEditable" contenteditable="false">Summary List Placement</bi-shortcode><p>Japan's first AstraZeneca vaccines are coming from the US, not the EU, after the bloc restricted vaccine exports in January, Reuters reported on Thursday.&nbsp;</p><p>The company had planned to import the vaccine from Europe, Tomoo Tanaka, AstraZeneca's head of vaccine development, said in an interview with Asahi Shimbun on Thursday, <a href="https://www.reuters.com/article/health-coronavirus-japan-astrazeneca-idINKBN2BO45M">Reuters reported</a>.</p><p>But restriction on vaccine exports <a href="https://www.cnbc.com/2021/03/22/uk-and-eu-covid-vaccine-export-ban-spat-grows.html">imposed by the EU in January</a> led to a change in plans. Instead, Japan imported undiluted vaccines from the US, Tanaka.&nbsp;</p><p>Reuters confirmed the news with an AstraZeneca spokesperson.&nbsp;</p><p>The Japanese government has ordered enough doses of the two-shot AstraZeneca vaccine for its 60 million population, around half the population, the <a href="https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2021/03/12/national/astrazeneca-vaccine-japan/">Japan Times reported</a>.</p><p>90 million doses of the vaccine will be produced domestically by local companies Daiichi Sankyo, JCR Pharmaceuticals Co, and others, Reuters reported.</p><p>Daiichi Sankyo said on March 12 it had started manufacturing the vaccine "using undiluted solutions provided by AstraZeneca," the company <a href="https://www.daiichisankyo.com/files/news/pressrelease/pdf/202103/20210312_E1.pdf">said in a press release</a>. It is not clear whether they were waiting on undiluted vaccine doses from abroad.</p><p>The EU announced on <a href="https://www.cnbc.com/2021/03/24/eu-announces-tougher-controls-on-coronavirus-vaccine-exports.html">March 24</a> that it would again restrict vaccine exports for <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2021/03/23/world/europe/eu-curbs-vaccine-exports.html">six weeks</a>, in a bid to keep up with supply issues among the member states.</p><p>The bloc had previously said it authorized requests for millions of doses of vaccines to be shipped to 29 countries, including Japan, <a href="https://www.reuters.com/article/us-health-coronavirus-australia-idUSKCN2AX07H">Reuters reported on March 5</a>.</p><p>The US <a href="https://www.businessinsider.com/us-as-millions-unusued-astrazeneca-coronavirus-vaccine-shots-not-sharing-2021-3">came under scrutiny</a> when it was found that it had blocked the export of doses of the AstraZeneca shot.</p><p>Millions of doses were stockpiled in vaccine plants on US soil, even though the country had not approved the shot. As of April 1, it still has not.</p><p>Speaking on the issue of vaccine supply, President Joe Biden said at the time that Americans should be "taken care of first."</p><p>Since then, the US has shipped doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine to <a href="https://www.reuters.com/article/idUSKBN2BA22S">Mexico and Canada</a>, as a loan. Details about the conditions under which Japan has received doses from the US were not immediately clear.</p><p>Last week, AstraZeneca had to revise its US trial <a href="https://www.businessinsider.com/astrazeneca-vaccine-efficacy-us-trial-revised-down-fauci-76-2021-3">efficacy data downwards</a> from 79% to 76% after US health officials said the company used outdated data in their first submission.</p><p>More <a href="https://www.businessinsider.com/astrazeneca-coronavirus-vaccine-has-murky-future-in-us-2021-3">experts are calling for the US to export</a> their AstraZeneca vaccine doses, because, although it is likely that the vaccine will be approved by the FDA, it might come too <a href="https://www.businessinsider.com/astrazeneca-coronavirus-vaccine-has-murky-future-in-us-2021-3">late for the US vaccine rollout, Insider's Andy Dunn reported</a>.</p><p><a href="https://www.businessinsider.com/japan-gets-astrazeneca-vaccine-from-us-after-eu-export-ban-2021-4#comments">Join the conversation about this story &#187;</a></p> <p>NOW WATCH: <a href="https://www.businessinsider.com/navy-usns-comfort-hospital-ship-new-york-coronavirus-covid-19-2020-3">How the Navy's largest hospital ship can help with the coronavirus</a></p>
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