Vaccine Supply Situation in Japan

Currently about a million Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna vaccine doses are being used per day for general vaccinations in Japan. On top of that about 100,000 doses are used for vaccinating healthcare workers and other essential workers, such as police officers and firefighters.

The government has offered companies to vaccinate their employees using Moderna. Initially that offer was only extended to large companies with at least 1,000 employees, but after complaints smaller companies were allowed to band together or extend the service to some of their customers and business partners. Some real estate companies are offering it to all tenant companies in their office blocks. The uptake of this offer has been so overwhelming that the government is now talking about slowing down or pausing new signups for companies, as they were getting concerned the demand would outstrip the Moderna vaccine supply.

On June 4 the Japanese government updated municipalities with the vaccine distribution schedule for July and it includes lower numbers for vaccine shipments. Apparently, Pfizer has been shipping 36,000,000 doses per month in both June and July but will ship only about 2/3 of that in each of the next four months (July-October). Does that mean Japan will be unable to maintain the current pace of vaccinations? Some local governments are concerned that they were pushed to set up mass vaccination facilities, only now to be told there will be fewer vaccine doses.

However, the National government is still sitting on large stockpiles as it was due to receive 100 million doses of Pfizer and 40 million doses of Moderna by the end of June, most of which is still sitting in freezers. According to the published supply schedule, Japan should be able to sustain more than 1 million Pfizer shots a day until the end of November and 400,000 Moderna shots a day until the end of October by gradually drawing down these stockpiles.

Both dates are one month after the last contracted shipment month, by which time a total of 122 million residents would be vaccinated. The projected Pfizer usage rate is similar to what they’re doing now while in the case of Moderna the rate is more than 10 times larger (i.e. for use in future company vaccinations programs).

Assumptions:

  • 100 million Pfizer doses received by end of June
  • 41 million doses used by end of June.
  • 94 million additional doses received in roughly equal installments in July, August, September, October.
  • 40 million Moderna doses received by end of June
  • 800,000 doses used by end of June
  • 10 million additional doses received by end of September.

See this spreadsheet for an overview.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.