Japan adds Sinopharm, Sinovac to recognised vaccinations

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From 11 October, Japan will expand its definition of fully vaccinated to include all 11 WHO-approved vaccines.

Japan has announced that it will end all remaining restrictions on tourism and reopen its borders from 11 October 2022 onwards. 

While this is great news for would-be travellers, there’s just one hitch: Japan doesn’t recognise Sinopharm or Sinovac. If you’ve received either of these vaccines, you’ll be treated as an unvaccinated individual, with implications for pre-departure testing and quarantine.

But now there’s a new development: Japan will widen its list of recognised vaccines to include all WHO-approved vaccines, including those made in China.

Japan expands recognised vaccine list

Japan will soon recognise all WHO-approved vaccines

Japan’s COVID regulations for international arrivals currently depend on two factors:

  • 14-day travel history
  • vaccination status.

Where travel history is concerned, Japan divides all countries into three categories: Blue, Yellow and Red (Singapore is a Blue country; there are no countries currently in the Red category).

Where vaccination status is concerned, Japan defines “fully vaccinated” as individuals who have received at least three doses of the following vaccines:

  • AstraZeneca
  • Covaxin
  • Covishield
  • COVOVAX
  • Janssen (only two doses required)
  • Moderna
  • Novavax
  • Pfizer-BioNTech

Notice the absence of Sinopharm and Sinovac.

Here’s a summary of the relevant testing and quarantine restrictions for each permutation.

CategoryVax?Test?*Quarantine^
BlueYesPDT: N/A
OAT: N/A
N/A
NoPDT: PCR
OAT: N/A
N/A
YellowYesPDT: N/A
OAT: N/A
N/A
NoPDT: PCR
OAT: PCR
3 days (home)
RedYesPDT: N/A
OAT:
PCR
3 days (home)
NoPDT: PCR
OAT: PCR
3 days (facility)
*PDT= Pre-departure test, OAT= On-arrival test
^Negative PCR test required to end quarantine

Travellers who do not meet Japan’s definition of fully vaccinated are required to take a pre-departure COVID-19 PCR test within 72 hours of their flight, regardless of their 14-day travel history. 

In addition, should their 14-day travel history include Red or Yellow countries, they will be subject to on-arrival testing and three days of quarantine. 

Even though the Red category is currently empty, Yellow includes countries like India, Maldives, Turkey, Fiji and Vietnam. This means a Sinovac-vaccinated individual who had recently returned to Singapore from Vietnam would not be able to travel to Japan for 14 days, unless he/she was willing to quarantine on arrival.

From 11 October 2022, Japan will recognise any WHO-approved vaccination.

“On and after Oct 11, so long as a visitor has been vaccinated three times with any of the World Health Organisation (WHO) approved vaccines – including China-made vaccines – they will be able to enter Japan without having to submit or produce a negative test.”

-Straits Times

This adds three additional vaccinations, all made in China, to the list.

💉 Vaccinations recognised by Japan
(from 11 October 2022)
  • AstraZeneca
  • CanSino (new)
  • Covaxin
  • Covishield
  • COVOVAX
  • Janssen 
  • Moderna 
  • Novavax
  • Pfizer-BioNTech
  • Sinopharm (new)
  • Sinovac (new)

Three doses of any of the above vaccinations, in any combination, will satisfy the fully vaccinated criteria (Janssen only requires two doses). 

Unvaccinated children under the age of 18 who travel with fully vaccinated parents/guardians will be treated as fully vaccinated (refer to the bottom of page 17 for the source).

Summary: Travel to Japan

Below is a quick recap of the travel process to Japan, effective 11 October 2022. 

🇯🇵 Summary: Travel to Japan
From 11 Oct 22

  • Download MySOS app (Android | iOS) and complete registration 
    • Submission is allowed within two weeks of entry date, up to six hours before landing
  • No pre-departure test required unless unvaccinated
    • Unvaccinated travellers must take PCR test within 72 hours of departure
  • No on-arrival test required unless unvaccinated
    • Unvaccinated travellers must take on-arrival PCR test if 14-day travel history features Yellow or Red countries (Singapore is classified as Blue)
    • Unvaccinated travellers must quarantine for 3 days if 14-day travel history features Yellow or Red countries (Singapore is classified as Blue)
Source

Conclusion

Japan is preparing to end all tourism restrictions from 11 October

Japan will expand its list of recognised vaccinations from 11 October 2022 to include any WHO-approved vaccination. 

This adds CanSino, Sinopharm and Sinovac to the mix, and travellers who have received at least three doses of these vaccines will be given the same treatment as other fully vaccinated travellers.

Aaron Wong
Aaron Wong
Aaron founded The Milelion to help people travel better for less and impress chiobu. He was 50% successful.

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Froggy

Finally they are opening up to low-budget tourism too! 🙂

Tom

Those people probably have more spending power than you

Bob the builder

Imagine the Sinkie frog in his well thinking he can outspend the Mainlander with endless acres of farmland, lol!

Froggy

I probably pay your annual salary in income tax ^_^

Elbert

FINALLY,
now us from Indonesia can just go to Japan without worry

George

This is indeed disappointing news.

tikopeh

RMB too alluring for japanese. Was hoping Japan delay opening up to PRCs lol so can travel to japan without the hassle of PRC jump queue at the tourist spots….

Jason

no worries, they can’t even get their passport renewed or for those lucky enough getting out will face 7+3 days quarantine upon return, pus crazily expensive ticket (just 2-3 months ago, one-way economy ticket from Singapore to any city in China is about S$20K…).

wayne

could we recap the situation with zipair tokyo?

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