• Kyodo

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Japan will hold a coronavirus vaccination simulation in Kawasaki, Kanagawa Prefecture, on Wednesday, the minister in charge of vaccination efforts said.

Taro Kono, who also serves as administrative reform minister, revealed the plan as Japan prepares to begin novel coronavirus vaccinations by late February, after checking the safety and efficacy of vaccines.

“We will assess how long it will take (to vaccinate) and how big the system needs to be. Then we will inform municipalities of the results,” Kono said during a House of Representatives Budget Committee meeting.

Calling vaccination a key measure against the coronavirus, Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga said at the same meeting he wants to “swiftly bring vaccines to the people,” vowing to provide accurate information about the effects.

Japan is set to receive 310 million vaccine doses from two U.S. pharmaceutical companies, Pfizer Inc. and Moderna Inc., and Britain’s AstraZeneca PLC. The total will be enough for 157 million people.

Medical workers are expected to be eligible for vaccination first, followed by people aged 65 or older, then people with pre-existing conditions and those caring for older people.

While the central government is in charge of securing vaccines, inoculation will be left to local governments.

A recent Kyodo News survey showed 80% of Japan’s 47 prefectural capitals view securing enough medical personnel for vaccination as a challenge.

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