• Kyodo

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The government is arranging to end full operation of state-run mass vaccination centers in Tokyo and Osaka in late August as planned, taking the view that the country’s COVID-19 vaccination drive will not be hindered by the move, government sources said Friday.

The winding down of the centers operated by the Self-Defense Forces comes as access to vaccinations has broadened, with inoculations also available at workplaces and universities as well as under local government-led campaigns.

The government had initially sought to extend operation of the Tokyo center, but reversed its stance to avoid putting a strain on the SDF — which needs to prepare for relief activities during potential disasters as Japan’s typhoon season approaches, according to the sources.

Since the government wants to ensure that all those who received their initial shots of the COVID-19 vaccine developed by U.S. pharmaceutical company Moderna Inc. at the centers can also get their second shot there, the sites may continue partial operation beyond late August, they said.

The centers, which opened on May 24, have offered up to 15,000 jabs a day in total as the government sought to speed up vaccinations, after seeing other developed nations forge ahead.

The Defense Ministry said that as of Monday, the Tokyo center had provided 328,736 shots, while the Osaka center had performed 161,341.

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