TOKYO: A mass vaccination center in Tokyo will start reserving Covid-19 vaccines for people under 65 from Saturday, the Sankei The newspaper reported on Thursday that Japan is stepping up efforts to vaccinate people ahead of the opening of the 2020 Olympics next month.
Japan began immunizing frontline health workers and the elderly in February, but slowness compared to other major industrialized countries has prompted calls to postpone or cancel the Tokyo Games again.
Many Japanese fear the country is unprepared to welcome tens of thousands of foreign athletes and Olympic officials as its healthcare system grapples with a fourth wave of infections.
The Tokyo vaccination center will also begin making appointments by phone for the first time from Saturday, in addition to online reservations to encourage more people to use the center, the Sankei reported.
A spokeswoman for the Department of Defense, which operates the site, declined to comment by phone and did not immediately respond to an email.
Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga said on Wednesday that Japan aims to complete the vaccination of all citizens requesting vaccines by October-November. This may require around 1 million injections per day.
With less than 50 days of the opening of the Olympics, Japan has vaccinated just over a tenth of its population with at least one dose. Organizers will decide this month whether or not to allow Japanese people to attend events after previously banning foreign spectators.
In a sign of continued concern over the risk of new infections during the Games, however, the governor of Chiba Prefecture on Thursday canceled plans for an outdoor Olympic observation site in a park that would have attracted thousands. of people. live site, ”Toshihito Kumagai said during a local media briefing.
Neighboring Tokyo, Chiba Prefecture is expected to host four Olympic events – surfing, fencing, wrestling and taekwondo – and four Paralympic events. On Wednesday, the prefecture recorded 106 new cases of Covid-19 against 440 in Tokyo. – Reuters