Ahead of winter, when there are concerns about the spread of the new coronavirus, vaccination will begin on the 20th for all people over 6 months old. The vaccine used is compatible with the Omicron variant, and those who wish can receive it at no co-pay.

The legal status of the new coronavirus was changed to Class 5 in May, but the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare continues to provide special vaccinations that can be administered without co-payment until the end of this fiscal year.

And in preparation for the spread of infection that is a concern in winter, vaccination will begin on the 5th for all people over 20 months of age who wish to do so.

We will use the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines corresponding to the XBB strain, a derivative of the Omicron variant, and if you wish to be vaccinated, you can receive a vaccination ticket from the local government and receive the vaccination at a hospital.

However, starting with this vaccination, the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare will apply the "vaccination recommendation" that local governments recommend to residents and the "obligation to make efforts" that require them to make efforts to be vaccinated only to people at high risk of becoming seriously ill, such as the elderly.

In addition, many municipalities say that even if they are vaccinated against influenza and new coronavirus vaccines at the same time, starting in October, there will be no problems with safety and effectiveness.

The Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare says, "The opportunity to be vaccinated will be provided to everyone over 6 months old, so if you are worried about vaccination, please consider it at your own discretion by referring to the national leaflet as before."

How to get vaccinated

According to the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare, the government has secured 2000 million doses of the Pfizer vaccine and 500 million doses of the Moderna vaccine so far.

In order to be vaccinated, you need a vaccination ticket issued by the local government this time as well.

Most of the places where vaccinations can be administered are local hospitals and clinics, but some municipalities have set up mass vaccination sites.

The Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare says that if you wish to be vaccinated, please check the consultation desk and website of your local government.

How do you think about the XBB.1.5 vaccine?

The vaccine that will be inoculated on the 20th is a vaccine containing ingredients compatible with XBB.1.5, a type of Omicron variant of the new coronavirus.

According to the National Institute of Infectious Diseases, the mainstream epidemic is currently a mutated virus called "EG.5", which is further mutated from the XBB lineage, and as of this week, "EG.5.1" is estimated to account for 63%.

This "EG.5" is monitored by WHO = World Health Organization by designating it as "VOI = Notable Mutant Virus".

Two U.S. pharmaceutical companies that developed vaccines compatible with XBB.1.5 say that as a result of clinical trials, they have shown an immune response to newly spreading mutant viruses such as EG.2 and BA.5.2.

In addition, according to the research group "G86P-Japan" led by Professor Kei Sato of the Institute of Medical Science, the University of Tokyo, EG. 2.5 may have a higher ability to escape immunity while its infectivity was lower than that of the previous "XBB" strain based on experiments using cultured cells.

Regarding EG.1.5, Professor Sato said, "There is a risk of infection many times, so we have no choice but to be careful about infection control," and that "vaccination can be expected to be effective in preventing aggravation."

In addition, Project Professor Atsuro Hamada of Tokyo Medical University, who is an expert on infectious diseases, said, "The effects of vaccines include prevention of aggravation and infection, but vaccines compatible with XBB.1.1 can be expected to be sufficiently effective in preventing aggravation even against EG.5. Elderly people and people with chronic diseases may become seriously ill if infected, so they should be vaccinated as much as possible. Other people can also be expected to be effective in preventing infection to some extent, and can also be expected to prevent sequelae if they become infected. Whether or not to get vaccinated will be decided by each person based on the side effects and effects, but I think the benefits outweigh them."