The Defense Ministry said Sunday it administered Moderna Inc.'s coronavirus vaccine among Self-Defense Forces members, the first confirmed use of the vaccine in Japan, as the SDF will start running mass vaccination centers the following day.

The vaccine developed by the U.S. pharmaceutical company was granted fast-track approval by the Japanese government on Friday along with one provided by Britain's AstraZeneca Plc.

A rehearsal is held at a mass COVID-19 vaccination center in Tokyo on May 21, 2021, for inoculations to be administered by Self-Defense Forces doctors and nurses targeting senior citizens and beginning May 24. (Kyodo)

The ministry vaccinated SDF doctors and nurses as well as private nurses who will work at the centers which will open in Tokyo and Osaka on Monday for inoculations of the elderly. They will use the Moderna vaccine at the venues.

Japan now has three available vaccines, also including one developed by U.S. pharmaceutical company Pfizer Inc. and its German partner BioNTech SE already in use.

The AstraZeneca shot will not be used immediately in Japan amid lingering concerns over rare cases of blood clots being reported overseas, the health ministry has said.

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