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Health

Japan commits $165 million to WHO's global coronavirus vaccine programme

FILE PHOTO: Small bottles labeled with a "Vaccine COVID-19" sticker and a medical syringe are seen in this illustration taken taken April 10, 2020. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/File Photo

TOKYO (Reuters) - Japan said on Tuesday it has committed 17.2 billion yen ($165 million) in funds for its participation in the World Health Organization’s COVID-19 vaccine programme.

The programme, known as COVAX, is aimed at helping buy and fairly distribute vaccination shots against the novel coronavirus around the world. But some countries which have secured their own supplies through bilateral deals, including the United States, have said they will not join.

The funds are part of a 1.64 trillion yen reserve intended to bolster the government’s response to the virus, a government document showed.

Japan has also pursued independent arrangements with global pharmaceutical companies to secure vaccines, with the government pledging to have enough supply for the whole population by the first half of 2021.

The COVAX programme has set a Sept. 18 deadline for contributions.

($1 = 105.2700 yen)

Reporting by Rocky Swift; Editing by Edwina Gibbs

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