Tokyo, Apr 12 (EFE).- Japan began administering Covid-19 vaccines to those aged over 65 on Monday, coming at a time of growing concern about a fourth wave in the country and with the goal that this group is immunized by the end of June.
The elderly group, who tend to develop more severe symptoms than the young when they contract the disease, is made up of about 36 million people (28 percent of the Japanese population), and is the second in line to be inoculated after the prioritization of health workers.
The government plans to ensure sufficient doses of the drug developed by the American pharmaceutical company Pfizer – the only one currently approved for use in the archipelago, and which reach the country through the European Union, which limits its availability.
Vaccination of the elderly begins at a time of growing concern about the increase in infections in the most populated areas of the archipelago and on the same day that the prefectures of Tokyo, Kyoto and Okinawa begin additional restrictions on commercial activity to stop the spread.
The central government has declared a state of alert in these areas (in addition to Osaka, Hyogo and Miyagi), without going so far as to declare a third state of emergency less than four months before the opening of the Summer Olympic Games in Tokyo.
It is feared that increasing pressure on the health system will affect the vaccination campaign, which has progressed slowly since it started on Feb. 17.
According to the most recent data available from the Ministry of Health, around 1.1 million people had received at least one dose as of Friday, 0.8 percent of the population, far behind the pace of countries such as the United Kingdom and the United States, and below the world average of 5 percent.
After the vaccination of those over 65, it will be the turn of people with pre-existing conditions, such as diabetes, and workers in nursing homes, after which it will be extended to the rest of the population. EFE-EPA