Japan reopens mass vaccination centers to speed up anti-omicron drive

Tokyo, Jan 31 (EFE).- Japan on Monday reopened mass military-operated Covid-19 vaccination centers, starting with Tokyo, to speed up giving booster shots amid an outbreak driven by the highly-contagious omicron variant of the coronavirus.

The first doses were administered in the center located in central Tokyo’s Otemachi district at 8 am local time.

The decision to reopen the centers amid the omicron outbreak is due to the slow roll out of the booster dose that has been administered to a meager 2.7 percent of the population, health ministry data showed.

The centers were closed at the end of November when about 77 percent of the population was fully vaccinated.

After a visit to the center, Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida described booster shots as an effective measure against the omicron strain.

Kishida said he asked local authorities to be ready to administer the third dose of the Covid vaccines as soon as possible and pointed out that these mass vaccination centers would help move the campaign forward.

A total of 4,320 people are expected to be inoculated at the Otemachi center by Feb.5.

Daily inoculations are subsequently expected to reach 2,160.

A mass vaccination center in the western Osaka will also open on Feb.7.

Some 960 people are expected to be vaccinated daily at the facility.

The centers are operated by members of the Japan Self-Defense Forces and administer the vaccine developed by American pharma major Moderna.

Tokyo and Osaka have been recording the most Covid-19 cases.

Tokyo recorded 15,895 cases on Sunday while Osaka registered 9,135 amid mounting pressure on the Japanese government to declare a state emergency.

The spread of Covid has accelerated in Japan due to the omicron variant that is causing record figures across the country, most recently on Saturday, with nearly 85,000 cases. EFE


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