Japan is considering approving the use of the COVID-19 vaccine developed by Britain's AstraZeneca Plc for people aged 18 or over, sources close to the matter said Wednesday.

The Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare granted fast-track approval for the vaccine in May but indicated at the time that it did not intend to use the vaccine immediately due to rare cases of blood clots reported overseas.

Photo shows bottles of COVID-19 vaccine developed by AstraZeneca Plc and the University of Oxford. (Photo courtesy of AstraZeneca)(Kyodo)

It is already planning to approve the AstraZeneca vaccine for people aged 60 or older, other sources said earlier.

An expert panel of the health ministry will discuss the eligible age range for the vaccine on June 30.

Most of the reported blood clot cases involved young people.

The government's inoculation drive currently employs the COVID-19 vaccines developed by U.S. pharmaceutical companies Pfizer Inc. and Moderna Inc.

It is considering recommending AstraZeneca vaccine only for those aged 60 or older for the time being, they said.