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[Japan] 65 municipalities to start vaccinating elderly people against COVID-19 from Monday


A total of 65 municipalities in Tokyo and 38 other prefectures had plans as of Friday to start vaccinating people aged 65 and older against the novel coronavirus from Monday, according to a Yomiuri Shimbun survey.

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As the initial vaccine supply is limited, 29 prefectures will begin the vaccinations with residents of nursing care facilities for the elderly, it was also found.

The population eligible to receive COVID-19 vaccinations totals about 36 million nationwide.

The central government, in the first batch, has distributed a total of about 50,000 doses of the vaccines to prefectural governments.

The prefectures then allocate the vaccines to local municipalities. The Yomiuri Shimbun surveyed all 47 prefectures, plus some municipalities, as to the allocation destinations and the vaccination system for the first batch of vaccines.

The survey found that Tokyo and other prefectures are allocating the vaccines to a total of 153 cities, wards, towns and villages, many of which are urban districts, including prefectural capitals and ordinance-designated major cities.

The 65 municipalities that will begin vaccinating the eligible populations on Monday, include cities of Aomori, Yamagata, Saitama, Gifu, Kobe and Kitakyushu. On the other hand, the Okinawa prefectural government chose to begin with the city of Miyakojima on a remote island, saying, “We have prioritized a remote island whose medical care system is fragile.”

Among municipalities supplied with the first batch of vaccines, 55 of them will start the vaccinations in the period of April 13-18, 10 of them will start in the April 19-30 period, and three will begin in May.

Twenty had yet to decide when they will begin the vaccinations.

The city government of Kofu, which is scheduled to start vaccinations on April 17, said in response to the survey, “As we also considered the possibility of a delay of the vaccines’ arrival, we have given sufficient time to the start of the vaccination.”

Amid the spread of infections in many areas of the country, the administration of the vaccination to elderly people will advance in parallel with that for front-line medical service workers.

But some misgivings have been expressed about that approach among local governments, with a Saga prefectural government official saying, “We are worried about whether we can secure enough medical workers who have already been vaccinated.”

Published : April 12, 2021

By : The Japan News/ANN