Japan has administered over 10 million COVID-19 shots since its vaccination program began in February, with jabs now going into arms at a rate of 400,000 daily — far lower than the target of 1 million a day needed to complete inoculating people age 65-plus by July 31.
The pace of the rollout is inexcusable, argues the JT Editorial Board. There are explanations aplenty for the delays, but the answer is simple: The Japanese government has not approached this problem with urgency, the board says.
The rollout has been a skin-of-the-teeth affair, with blame for the resulting confusion falling mostly on local governments, but as Philip Brasor points out in Media Mix, they’ve had to formulate plans on the fly, unsure how many doses they will get and when.
On Saturday, vaccine czar Taro Kono said local governments can be flexible in who they prioritize for inoculations, as long as they meet the July-end deadline for vaccinating seniors, Tomohiro Osaki reports.
Health minister Norihisa Tamura added Sunday that the rollout for under-65s should be carried out at the same time as those with underlying conditions to speed things up. On Friday, he also said Japan was set to authorize Pfizer’s vaccine for children age 12 to 15, possibly as early as Monday, Osamu Tsukimori reports.