COVID-19 Vaccination: Japan Starts Inoculating People Aged 65 And Above

Tokyo: Japan began COVID-19 vaccinations for people aged 65 and above at 120 sites across the country, using Pfizer Inc’s vaccine made in Europe and delivered to the regions in the past week.

A total of 2,810 people in Tokyo are expected to get a shot from the first batch, while most regions will receive 1,000 doses or fewer, according to a health ministry schedule. Japan has a rapidly ageing population totalling 126 million.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Katsunobu Kato reiterated on Monday the government’s projection that it can secure enough vaccines for Japan’s 36 million people over the age of 65 by the end of June.

“If imports from the EU go smoothly, I understand the country is expected to distribute vaccines that can be administered to all of the elderly,” Kato said.

Tokyo also began on Monday a month-long period of quasi-emergency measures to blunt a fourth wave of contagion driven by virulent mutant strains and with the planned start of the Summer Olympics just over 100 days away.

Japan was among the last major economies to begin Covid-19 inoculations when it started in mid-February. Taro Kono, the minister in charge of vaccines, has defended the pace, saying local governments wanted time to prepare.

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