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Japan to open up COVID-19 booster shots to all residents

A health ministry panel agreed Thursday to offer COVID-19 booster shots to anyone who has already received two doses.

Japan had initially considered giving booster shots to front-line health workers and others who required priority.

But panel members agreed that all people who wish to get booster shots should get one, officials said.

Prime Minister Fumio Kishida has said the government is planning to start administering booster shots in December and that it will shoulder the costs.

Last month, the health ministry decided to give booster shots to people who have gone at least eight months since receiving their second dose, citing studies that show antibodies that protect against the disease decrease over time.

The vaccine rollout in Japan began in February among medical personnel before expanding to people aged 65 and older in the spring followed by those with underlying conditions and finally the general population.

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