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After some false starts, Japan’s much-delayed vaccine rollout is picking up steam, Bloomberg reports. The seven-day average of doses has quadrupled in just two weeks, with about a quarter of the nearly 14 million shots given coming in the past week alone.

Over 10 million people have now had at least one jab, the government said Wednesday. Universities are also preparing to provide vaccination sites to accelerate the rollout further, with seven state-run colleges reportedly set to start offering shots later this month. Japan Inc. is stepping up, too: Trading house Itochu says it will start inoculating its employees at work from June 21.

People wait in an observation area after receiving a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a mass-inoculation site at Noevir Stadium Kobe on Tuesday. | BLOOMBERG
People wait in an observation area after receiving a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a mass-inoculation site at Noevir Stadium Kobe on Tuesday. | BLOOMBERG

But no one’s safe until everyone’s safe. On Wednesday, Japan pledged $800 million toward the COVAX program, helping the effort meet its goal of raising $8.3 billion to secure enough doses to cover 30% of the population of developing countries.

Meanwhile, a domestic startup thinks it may have found an ultra-efficient way of securing COVID-19 shots for billions of people for years to come, Osamu Tsukimori reports — a next-generation vaccine that requires only a fraction of the dosage of those currently out there.

Yesterday’s (and last Wednesday’s) new COVID-19 cases nationwide: 3,036 (4,485). By prefecture (100 or over; bold indicates rise over last week): Tokyo 487 (743), Hokkaido 317 (551), Okinawa 297 (302), Aichi 287 (445), Kanagawa 218 (225), Osaka 213 (331), Saitama 132 (164), Fukuoka 116 (211), Chiba 109 (123), Hyogo 104 (140). Source: Japan COVID-19 Coronavirus Tracker

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