Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga is planning to pledge an additional $800m to the World Health Organisation’s COVAX programme, which provides COVID-19 vaccines to countries in need, the Mainichi newspaper has reported.
Japan has already pledged $200m to COVAX, and the country is expected to announce donations of vaccine doses to the programme, the newspaper said on Wednesday without citing a source.
Suga will serve as host for an online COVAX summit on Wednesday, which will also be attended by United States Vice President Kamala Harris, philanthropist Bill Gates, and representatives from Group of Seven nations.
The summit is intended to fill a $1.7bn funding gap and it is hoped that countries and organisations will boost their pledges of money and vaccine doses, a Japanese government official told reporters on Tuesday.
Japanese legislators have urged giving supplies of the AstraZeneca vaccine to Taiwan, which is dealing with a spike in domestic infections and has vaccinated less than 2 percent of its 23.5 million population.
Japan has no immediate plans to use the AstraZeneca doses it has on hand and has secured enough supplies of other types of vaccine for its entire population.