COVID-19 Q&A

Return to Coronavirus (COVID-19)

MHLW Call Center (Toll Free)

COVID-19: 0120-565-653
-COVID-19 Vaccines: 0120-761-770
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*Everyday including weekends and holidays. This service cannot provide medical advice.

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COVID-19

Infection Prevention

【Q1】How can I deal with the risk of COVID-19 infection in restaurants?
Restaurants and other places where people eat or drink have been reported to be at high risk of COVID-19 infection. Considering the situation, local governments may ask restaurants to limit opening hours, serving of alcoholic beverages, and the number of people seated per table.

Restaurants that received “third-party certification” from their prefectural governments are working to reduce the risk of infection. Certified restaurants can be found on the websites of each prefectural governments.



【Q2】What precautions can we take against variants?
Preventive measures such as avoiding the “Three Cs” (Closed spaces, Crowded places, and Close-contact settings) and "Five situations" that increase the risk of infection, wearing masks, and washing hands remain as effective against the variants. Therefore individuals are strongly encouraged to continue taking these precautions.
Variant of Concern Cases Reports 



【Q3】What should I do if my family member is infected?
We ask 6 things to be done in the poster below.


【Q4】What should I do if my child tests positive?
We ask 6 things to be done in the poster below.

Symptom & Diagnosis

【Q1】What should I do if I have a fever, cough or other symptoms?
(1) The symptoms of COVID-19 are very similar to other infections. Do not judge your symptoms by yourself. Please call your family doctor or medical professional for advice. If you do not have a family doctor or are not sure who to consult, please contact the "consultation center" of your local government.
 
If you have any of the following conditions, please consult immediately.
-Severe symptoms of the following: short breath (difficulty breathing), fatigue, high fever, etc.
-People who are at high risk of severe illness* and have mild cold symptoms such as fever and cough (*People with underlying conditions, elderly, on dialysis, or using immunosuppressive drugs or anticancer drugs)
-People with ongoing mild cold symptoms

(2) Please take days off work or school and refrain from dining with others if you are feeling sick. Even if your fever is relieved by taking fever medicine, you may spread the infection.

【Q2】I would like to be diagnosed and receive prescription by phone or online.
Considering the current situation, as a temporary special measure, diagnosis and prescriptions will be available by phone or online including initial consultation, at the doctor’s discretion. Please consult with your family doctor.
If you do not have a family doctor, please contact the nearest medical institution listed on our website (only in Japanese). Depending on your symptoms and condition, the doctor may advise you to have an in-person consultation at the doctor's discretion.

Test

【Q1】What tests are being used to diagnose COVID-19?
Tests for diagnosing COVID-19 include PCR Test, Quantitative Antigen Test, and Qualitative Antigen Test. These tests are all designed to detect SARS-CoV-2 virus (which caused COVID-19) in one’s body and therefore can be used to see if someone is currently infected with the virus. Antibody tests are only used to see if a person has previously been infected with COVID-19. Antibody tests are not for use to diagnose acute infection.



【Q2】I just want to check if I am infected with COVID-19.
If you have a fever or other symptoms, please consult your family doctor or medical institution by phone, and visit the medical institution. If your doctor suspects that you are infected, you may be tested for COVID-19. If you are not sure where to consult, please contact the "consultation center" of your local government.

【Q3】Can I get immunity or antibodies if I am infected with COVID-19? Are there any precautions that should be taken in antibody testing?
It is known that antibodies and immunity against viral infections, such as measles, are produced after infection. It is also known that antibodies are produced in the body after infection with COVID-19, but at this moment, it is not clear how much antibody is produced, how long it will last, and whether immunity can be acquired or not.

Therefore, even if you find that you do not have antibodies to COVID-19, it does not mean that you are not infected with COVID-19 or that you have not been infected in the past.

【Q4】What should I note when I take the PCR test at my own expense?
If you have symptoms such as fever or cough, or if you have been in close contact with an infected person, you can take the test free of charge at public health centers or medical institutions.

On the other hand, if you do not have any symptoms but still wish to take a test, the test will be at your own expense. Institutions that conduct self-pay tests are subject to certain standards and they are required to ensure the accuracy of tests.

There are two types of self-pay tests. One includes a doctor's consultation and diagnosis, and the other is just a report of the results and does not include a doctor's diagnosis. Please note that negative test results themselves do not determine whether you are infected or not. A doctor's diagnosis is required.

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COVID-19 Vaccines

Effects and Safety

【Q1】What are the effectiveness of the COVID-19 vaccines approved in Japan?
The vaccines are effective in preventing the onset, infection and severe illness from COVID-19. Although the protection from infection and symptom onset may gradually decrease over time, it has been reported that the effectiveness in preventing serious symptoms remains comparatively high.

【Q2】 Is the vaccine effective against variants?
In general, viruses mutate gradually and continuously. A small mutation does not make the vaccine ineffective. The effectiveness of the vaccines against new variants is being confirmed.

【Q3】Are intramuscular injections very painful?
No, most people say that subcutaneous injections are more painful. Intramuscular injections tend to be slightly more painful after injection.

Eligible Person

【Q1】 I had COVID-19 before. Can I still get the vaccine?
Yes, people infected with COVID-19 in the past can be vaccinated. At this point, two doses are given for primary vaccine series  as usual.

【Q2】 Can I still get the vaccine if I am pregnant, breastfeeding, or planning to become pregnant?
Yes, you can get the vaccine. There have been no reports that the COVID-19 vaccines approved in Japan has any adverse effects on pregnancy, fetus, breast milk, or reproductive organs. Vaccination is recommended regardless of the time of pregnancy.

【Q3】 I have a chronic illness. Can I get the vaccine?
Yes. Vaccination is recommended for people with pre-existing conditions and the elderly, as they are more susceptible to severe illness. If you have a strong side effects, please consult your family doctor as soon as possible.

Side Effects

【Q1】What kind of symptoms possibly cause as side effects?
Pain at the injected site, fever, tiredness, headache, muscle or joint pain, chills, diarrhea may cause.

According to the survey results conducted in Japan,
- Most of these symptoms became intense the day after vaccination and subside within a few days.
- The most common symptom is pain at the injected site. More than 80% of the vaccinated individuals experienced this symptom on the next day.
- Fever, tiredness, and headache are more intense in the 2nd dose than in the 1st.
- In some cases, the Takeda/Moderna vaccine cause delayed skin reactions at the injected site, such as itchiness, swelling and redness.

【Q2】What should I do if I have a fever or pain after vaccination?
Drink plenty of fluids, such as water for fever. And fever medicine and painkillers can be effective. (In the cohort study, various medicines such as Acetaminophen, Loxoprofen, Ibuprofen were used. These are available in pharmacies.)

【Q3】What should I do if I have a itchiness or redness after vaccination?
Cooling and applying antihistamines or steroids will help relieve the itching.

【Q4】Who is most likely to have side effects?
People with a history of allergies may have a slightly stronger side effects. Pain at the injection site, swelling, fever, headache, and fatigue are immune reactions.

Booster Dose

【Q1】 Why do we need a booster shot of covid19 vaccine?
COVID-19 vaccines are highly effective in preventing the onset of illness, but it has been suggested that their effectiveness in preventing infection gradually declines as time passes. From the perspective of preventing the spread of infection and the development of severe disease, it is recommended that all people who have completed their primary vaccination series will be offered a booster shot.

【Q2】 How effective are the booster shot?
The booster shot has the effect of increasing the effectiveness of infection prevention, prevention of severe disease, etc. compared to the case where no booster shot is given.

【Q3】Can I still get a first dose even booster shot started?
The free COVID-19 vaccination program is scheduled to continue until September 30th 2022. Within this period, you can get your first dose.

【Q4】Who is eligible for the booster dose?
From the perspective of preventing the spread of COVID-19, it is desirable to provide booster shot who have completed the primary series (1st and 2nd doses). At this moment, Pfizer's vaccine is available to people aged 18 years and older who have completed the primary vaccination series.

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References

WHO (World Health Organization) Q&A | in English, Chinese, French, Spanish, Arabic and Russian

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