And they’re off! Authorities started accepting online bookings for older people to receive COVID-19 vaccines at large state-run centers in Tokyo and Osaka on Monday. As of 8 p.m., 9,000 slots were unfilled in Tokyo, while the Osaka site booked out within minutes.
Japan’s slow rollout could get another much-needed shot in the arm Thursday, as a health ministry panel meets to decide whether the Moderna and AstraZeneca vaccines will join Pfizer’s on the approved list.
At some point, the panel will also have to make a decision on whether kids get these shots. In the wake of the U.S. decision to start inoculating children, Rob Gilhooly examines the trust and safety issues Japan must navigate as it considers whether to follow suit.
Meanwhile, with coronavirus countermeasures active in nearly half the country, the possibility that the state of emergency will be expanded nationwide — and doubts over the efficacy of such a move — weigh heavily on Japan, Ryusei Takahashi reports. Okinawa will reportedly ask to be added to the growing state of emergency on Tuesday.
Yesterday’s (and last Monday’s) new COVID-19 cases nationwide: 3,680 (4,940). By prefecture (100 or more): Osaka 382 (668), Tokyo 419 (573), Aichi 362 (426), Hokkaido 372 (409), Fukuoka 282 (372), Hyogo 120 (271), Kanagawa 199 (237), Hiroshima 198 (177), Chiba 128 (172), Saitama 135 (155), Gifu (128), Okayama 108 (137), Kyoto 103 (96). Source: Japan COVID-19 Coronavirus Tracker