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People in Japan who received Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine seem to have suffered anaphylaxis at a higher rate than in the United States and Europe, the minister in charge of vaccination efforts said Wednesday.

Taro Kono told a parliamentary committee that 17 cases of anaphylaxis, a severe and potentially fatal allergic reaction, have been reported among the 107,558 health care workers who had been inoculated as of Tuesday.

The rate compares with five cases in every million doses administered in the U.S. and 20 cases per million in Britain, though Japan is further behind in its vaccine rollout and it could change as more people receive shots.

The scramble crossing outside Shibuya Station in Tokyo on Sunday | KYODO
The scramble crossing outside Shibuya Station in Tokyo on Sunday | KYODO

Looking ahead warily, a University of Tokyo study warns that the capital may again see its daily tally of coronavirus cases top 1,000 if people don’t refrain from gathering for cherry-blossom viewing and work-related celebrations this spring after the current state of emergency is lifted.

If restrictions are instead gradually eased over two months, the study predicts infection numbers in Tokyo will peak at around 800 daily cases. Two neighboring prefectures, however, may not be able to avoid another state of emergency even if they ease curbs over time and may need to take extra measures to reduce infections, the study suggests.

Wednesday’s (and last Wednesday’s) new COVID-19 cases by prefecture (30 or over): Tokyo 340 (316), Saitama 135 (98), Kanagawa 124 (139), Chiba 106 (164), Osaka 84 (98), Hokkaido 65 (60), Shizuoka 50 (21), Fukuoka 49 (37), Aichi 44 (55), Hyogo 41 (40), Miyagi 36 (27), Ibaraki 33 (34). Source: Japan COVID-19 Coronavirus Tracker

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