• Kyodo

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Thousands of people swarmed a walk-in COVID-19 vaccination site newly set up in central Tokyo for young people on Saturday morning, hoping to get tickets for about 300 shots offered for the day.

The Tokyo Metropolitan Government conducted a vaccine lottery after disarray on the first day of the program Friday when a line began to form from early morning and people snapped up some 200 vaccination slots provided on a first-come, first-served basis well before registration was scheduled to start.

The vaccination site near Shibuya Station, set up in the wake of the coronavirus resurgence in the capital, was to distribute lottery tickets from 9 a.m., but the metropolitan government started the distribution about 40 minutes ahead of schedule due to the growing line, which eventually stretched around 1 kilometer, according to Tokyo officials.

Of the 2,226 people who waited in line, 354 people won vaccination tickets, according to the metropolitan government.

At the site, the metropolitan government is vaccinating people between the ages of 16 and 39 who reside in or commute to Tokyo after infections among those in the age group began to spread at a faster pace.

The capital’s effort to accelerate the pace of vaccinating younger people comes as concerns grow about a vaccine supply shortage in the country.

“I wasn’t expecting such a large number of people to turn up,” said Ayuko Noguchi, a 32-year-old woman from Tokyo’s Musashino city, who arrived at the site at around 8:50 a.m. “I wanted to get a vaccine as soon as I can because my husband makes a lot of business trips.”

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