Japan will begin to administer third doses of Covid-19 vaccines to the general population early next year, starting with the elderly, the country's vaccination minister said Tuesday.

The Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare has approved the administration of a booster shot to those who have gone at least eight months since their second dose, due to studies showing declines in antibodies over time.

Medical personnel were the first group to start receiving Covid-19 vaccines in Japan in mid-February, so will get booster shots within the year, Taro Kono said at a press conference.

Next year, boosters will be given to those over 65 years of age, followed the rest of the general population.