Japan opens first mass Covid-19 vaccination centers in Tokyo, Osaka

Tokyo, May 24 (EFE).- Japan opened its first mass Covid-19 vaccination center Monday, in Tokyo and Osaka to accelerate its inoculation campaign, two months before the Olympic Games.

These centers, managed by the army, will remain open 12 hours a day for three months and administer the American Moderna vaccine, whose emergency use was approved Friday in Japan.

The government expects up to 10,000 people to be vaccinated daily in central Tokyo and 5,000 in Osaka, hoping to meet its goal of inoculating citizens over 65 (about 36 million people) by August.

The centers will only vaccinate residents of both cities during the first week, although the elderly from the adjacent prefectures of Saitama, Chiba and Kanagawa (in the case of Tokyo), and Kyoto and Hyogo (in the case of Osaka) will also qualify for inoculation.

The 49,000 online reservations available in Tokyo this week and the 24,500 in downtown Osaka quickly sold out after the registration period opened on May 17.

Several municipally-run centers opened Monday in Aichi, Gunma and Miyagi prefectures, with more expected to do so in coming weeks.

The slowness of vaccination in the country has generated concern nationally and internationally with two months remaining until the opening of the Olympic Games in Tokyo, on Jul. 23.

Japan began to vaccinate against Covid-19 in mid-February by inoculating health personnel and later expanded it to those over 65.

Only 5 percent of the target population had received at least one dose as of Friday, according to the most recent available government data.

Vaccination in Japan is aimed at those over 16, who represent about 110 of its 125 million inhabitants.

The injections had until now been administered by centers managed by local authorities and until today only the vaccine developed by Pfizer and BioNTech was used. EFE


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