Japan Opens Mass Vaccination Centres Ahead Of Olympics


Japan opened its first mass vaccination centres on Monday in a bid to speed up a cautious Covid-19 inoculation programme with just two months until the virus-postponed Tokyo Olympics, aso Naija reports.

The two military-run centres in Tokyo and Osaka will administer thousands of shots daily, initially to elderly residents of the cities, as the country battles a fourth wave of virus cases.

Just two per cent of Japan’s population of 125 million are fully vaccinated so far — compared to around 40 per cent in the United States and 15 per cent in France.

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criticism has been mounting over the relatively slow rollout, hindered by strict medical rules and complex bureaucracy, but the first people to get a jab at the tokyo centre said they were excited to move on with their lives.

“It’s wonderful. I can rest easy now. For a long time, a year and a half, I was feeling rather anxious and tense,” Hideo Ishikawa, 73, told reporters.

Munemitsu Watanabe, a 71-year-old engineering lecturer, also expressed relief but said the rollout could have been quicker.

“Had they done it earlier and had 80 or 90 per cent of people injected by the time of the Olympics, then the Games could be held more smoothly,” he said.

The Tokyo centre aims to deliver up to 10,000 jabs a day, while the Osaka centre will give up to 5,000.

Both are using the two-shot Moderna vaccine, which was approved for use in Japan on Friday along with the AstraZeneca formula

But the AstraZeneca vaccine will not be used immediately due to concern over very rare blood clots.

Japan began giving the Pfizer jab in February first to medical workers and then over-65s, who the government aims to finish inoculating by late July, when the Olympics begin.

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