Japan accelerated its rollout of coronavirus vaccines on Monday with the aim of completely inoculating all people age 65 or older by the end of July amid a fourth wave of infections.
Over the next two weeks, the government will send enough vaccine to municipalities to cover shots for over 9 million people, a quarter of Japan’s population age 65 or over, and plans to distribute vaccines for the entire 65-plus population by the end of June.
Such is the anticipated demand for vaccinations, telecoms firms say they will restrict calls to local governments from Monday, when many places start accepting phone reservations, to ensure the rush doesn’t interfere with communications equipment and emergency calls.
Japan’s third state of emergency has been extended until the end of May, beyond the original expiration date of Tuesday, and will be expanded to cover two more prefectures effective Wednesday, on top of Tokyo and three Kansai prefectures.
On Sunday, the head of the government’s coronavirus panel recommended that the emergency not be lifted until the infection situation improves to Stage 2, the second-lowest level on the government’s four-tier alert scale.
Yesterday’s (and last Monday’s) new COVID-19 cases by prefecture (100 or more): Osaka 668 (846), Tokyo 573 (708), Aichi 426 (304), Hokkaido 409 (114), Fukuoka 372 (285), Hyogo 271 (344), Kanagawa 237 (222), Hiroshima 177 (57), Chiba 172 (148), Saitama 155 (198), Gifu 128 (64), Okayama 137 (109). Source: Japan COVID-19 Coronavirus Tracker