The news came the same day that Italy registered another increase in the number of covid-19 infections, with 552 new cases over the last 24 hours, a jump of 150 cases from the previous day, according to the Italian health ministry.
AZD1222, that is jointly developed by AstraZeneca and Oxford Univesity, is one of the frontrunners in COVID-19 vaccine race.
Japan will order 120 million doses of the experimental vaccine developed by the British pharmaceutical company, beginning with 30 million doses by March next year.
"We want to reach a final contract as quickly as possible, as well as proceed with negotiating with other vaccine developers", Kato said.
Separately, Takeda Pharmaceutical said on Friday it would manufacture and sell up to 250 million doses of Novavax's COVID-19 vaccine candidate every year in Japan, with funding support from the government. Negotiations between the drugmakers commenced after AstraZeneca agreed to sit down with the Japanese government for broad vaccine supply talks, Daiichi said.
Daiichi Sankyo Ltd, Daiichi Sankyo Biotech Co, Meiji Seika Pharma Co and KM Biologics Co will support supply in Japan, the company said.
AstraZeneca Plc on Thursday signed a deal with a China-based company for producing its potential drug to treat novel coronavirus in mainland China. It's also a major supplier of hepatitis B vaccine. AnGes Inc and Osaka University are working on a DNA vaccine, while Shionogi & Co is working on a recombinant protein type.
Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro issued a decree on Thursday setting aside 1.9 billion reais ($356 million) in funds to purchase an initial 100 million doses of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine and to invest in its eventually production in Brazil.