Japan's state-run mass COVID-19 inoculation centers started administering vaccines to people age 18 and older Thursday, extending vaccinations beyond those age 65 and over as many slots at the centers remain vacant.

The move came two days after the Defense Ministry, which runs the centers in Tokyo and Osaka, decided to remove age restrictions so as not to waste vaccine doses at the facilities where slots remained largely vacant for the period through June 27.

As of 2 p.m. Thursday, all of the 70,000 slots at the Tokyo center between next Monday and June 27 were filled. At the Osaka center, however, around 18,000 of the 35,000 slots for the same period were still available.