Japan approves Pfizer COVID jab for use with young children

A medical worker fills a syringe with a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccine, at Tokyo Medical Center in Tokyo, Japan February 17, 2021. (BEHROUZ MEHRI / POOL VIA REUTERS)

SINGAPORE / HANOI / MANILA / ISLAMABAD / YANGON / TOKYO – A Japanese health ministry panel on Wednesday recommended approving Pfizer Inc's COVID-19 vaccine for children as young as six months old.

Japan in January expanded use of the vaccine to those as young as five years old. Last month, health authorities started to dispense Pfizer and Moderna Inc booster shots that target the Omicron variant of the virus.

The panel also recommended approval of a version of the Pfizer vaccine that protects against the BA.4 and BA.5 subvariants of Omicron. Moderna said earlier on Wednesday it was seeking Japanese approval of its own subvariant shot. 

ALSO READ: Pfizer COVID jab clears Japan panel for use with children

Myanmar confirmed 465 new cases of COVID-19 in the past 24 hours, bringing the tally to 625,147, according to the ministry of health on Wednesday.

The death toll from COVID-19 in the country remained unchanged at 19,463 on Wednesday as no new deaths were reported in the past 24 hours, the ministry said.


Pakistan recorded 57 new COVID-19 cases on Tuesday, the Ministry of Health said on Wednesday.

A total of 30,620 people had died of COVID-19 in Pakistan, with one new death reported in the country during the last 24 hours, according to the ministry.


Singapore reported 5,923 new cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday, bringing the total tally to 1,930,062.

Of the new cases, 562 were detected through PCR (polymerase chain reaction) tests and 5,361 through ART (antigen rapid test) tests, according to statistics released by the Ministry of Health.

Among the PCR cases, 536 were local transmissions and 26 were imported cases. Among the ART cases with mild symptoms and assessed to be of low risk, there were 5,172 local transmissions and 189 imported cases.

Wednesday saw no new deaths from COVID-19. The total death toll by far is 1,624.

The Philippines

The Philippines reported 1,764 new COVID-19 infections on Wednesday, bringing the total number of confirmed cases in the Southeast Asian country to 3,958,786.

The Department of Health said the number of active cases dropped to 25,733, while 33 more patients died from COVID-19 complications, taking the country's death toll to 63,111.

READ MORE: Myanmar extends COVID-19 restrictions until end of Oct


Vietnam recorded 1,195 new COVID-19 cases on Wednesday, up by 175 from Tuesday, according to its ministry of health.

Among the new cases, one was imported and the rest were all locally transmitted, said the ministry.

The country reported no new deaths from the pandemic on Wednesday, with the total fatalities staying at 43,151.