In a bid to avoid wasting precious vaccines, Japan is considering introducing waiting lists for COVID-19 inoculations, said Taro Kono, the minister in charge of the vaccination effort. “We should prioritize not wasting vaccines, rather than sticking to the priority order” when scheduled vaccinations are canceled at the last minute, Kono said.

Kono indicated that the central government will call on municipalities tasked with administering shots to come up with waiting list systems.

Meanwhile, things are looking up for Tokyo and Osaka Prefecture as the pace of newly confirmed infections slows under the coronavirus state of emergency. Tokyo reported 178 new COVID-19 cases Monday, its lowest daily figure since 156 infections on Nov. 9, while Kyoto, Osaka and Hyogo prefectures were set Tuesday to ask the central government to lift the emergency declaration at the end of the month.

A medical worker receives a COVID-19 vaccination at Nagoya Medical Center in the city Friday.
A medical worker receives a COVID-19 vaccination at Nagoya Medical Center in the city Friday.

Still, the downward trend is not preventing a growing number of people from trying imported — and potentially dangerous — COVID-19 drugs not authorized for use in Japan, prompting public health officials to issue a warning against taking the medicines.

Effectiveness aside, Fujifilm Holdings Corp. will restart a clinical trial in Japan of its antiviral drug Avigan for the treatment of COVID-19, according to local media.

Domestic approval of the drug was delayed after a health ministry panel said in December that trial data was inconclusive. The new study will involve about 270 patients and Fujifilm will aim to seek approval again in October.

Monday’s (and last Monday’s) new COVID-19 cases by prefecture (20 or over): Tokyo 178 (266), Saitama 101 (94), Chiba 99 (136), Kanagawa 96 (71), Osaka 62 (69), Aichi 30 (42), Fukuoka 26 (46), Hokkaido 21 (41). Source: Japan COVID-19 Coronavirus Tracker