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Large-scale programs offering vaccination against COVID-19 for older residents began in the prefectures of Aichi, Miyagi and Gunma on Monday morning.

The mass inoculation programs in the three prefectures use a vaccine developed by U.S. biotechnology company Moderna Inc., which was approved by the government on Friday.

The city of Sendai, which is the capital of Miyagi, and Gunma Prefecture plan to complete their vaccinations of older residents by the end of July.

Aichi has set up two large venues — one at the Nagoya Airport terminal building in the town of Toyoyama and the other at Fujita Health University in the city of Toyoake. On Monday, some 1,500 older residents of Nagoya, the capital of Aichi, are slated to be vaccinated. Both Toyoyama and Toyoake neighbor Nagoya.

“I’ve only been commuting between work and home, so I want to go elsewhere (after vaccination),” said Takeo Goto, 80, who visited Fujita Health University for inoculation.

His wife, Yoshie, 74, said, “I’m worried because information on the Moderna vaccine is limited, but I’ve wanted to get the jab soon.”

Aichi will expand the scope of vaccine eligibility in stages, hoping to inoculate up to some 3,000 people a day.

The Miyagi Prefectural Government and Sendai Municipal Government, and Tohoku University in Sendai, started vaccinations at a site set up near JR Sendai Station and are planning to give the vaccine to a maximum of about 2,100 older people in Sendai daily for the time being.

People in other municipalities in Miyagi will be allowed to start receiving jabs at the site later.

“It’s important to vaccinate as many people as possible as soon as possible in order to reduce new cases of (infection with) the coronavirus when the next wave of infections strikes,” Teiji Tominaga, head of Tohoku University Hospital, said.

The Gunma Prefectural Government opened a vaccination venue at an abandoned school in the city of Ota. On Monday, it plans to inoculate 100 older residents of the city.

From June, when the venue will become fully operational, the prefecture aims to administer the vaccine to up to 1,000 people in nine eastern municipalities each day.

The Gunma government plans to set up a second mass vaccination venue in the densely populated central part of the prefecture.

“Completing our vaccination campaign as early as possible will help protect residents’ lives and health, and their livelihoods,” Gunma Gov. Ichita Yamamoto said.

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