With agreements to secure more coronavirus vaccines than it needs and legislation to distribute it for free, Japan may seem to have its inoculation plans in place. Yet a tense public history with vaccines and a cautious approval process has some concerned over how quickly the country can return to normal.
Japan has one of the lowest rates of vaccine confidence in the world, according to a Lancet study, which found that fewer than 30% of people strongly agreed that vaccines were safe, important and effective, compared with at least 50% of Americans. A recent poll by NHK found 36% said they didn’t want to take a COVID-19 vaccine.
The government now faces a tricky balancing act: trying to move quickly to approve the jabs in order to restore the economy to full health, while avoiding creating the impression of a rush-job — which might help turn an already-skeptical public off getting inoculated.