For months now, the government of Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga has been working hard to accelerate Japan’s vaccine rollout, piling pressure on municipalities to administer as many shots as possible.
That strategy has worked — perhaps almost too well. Demand for vaccine doses is now outpacing supply in some municipalities, calling their rollout schedules into question and prompting the central government to warn that they may now need to slow down instead.
Surging demand for vaccinations at companies and universities is also at the heart of an ongoing supply crunch. Despite its much-hyped launch, the government was forced to stop accepting new applications for the workplace vaccination program last week — just days after it formally kicked off — amid an avalanche of requests from firms and universities that threatened to outpace its daily capacity to distribute Moderna Inc. doses.