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Japan has begun vaccinating its sizeable population of over-65s at some 120 sites across the country, but experts say the program is far too slow to prevent the fourth wave from gathering pace.

According to Japan’s health ministry, only 2,810 people in Tokyo are expected to get a shot from the first batch of Pfizer vaccines which was delivered around the country over the past week. Most regions have received 1,000 doses or fewer, as Japan starts vaccinations for its considerable elderly population on Monday. 

“We would like to deliver (the vaccines) to as many people as possible as soon as possible,” Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga said while touring a vaccination center in Hachioji, west of Tokyo.

On Monday, the capital also began a month-long period of tightened restrictions, including the closure of bars and restaurants at 20:00 and encouraging citizens not to travel out of the city unless necessary, as Covid cases build again. 

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Japan clarified reports about athletes jumping vaccine queues. © Reuters
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Japan’s vaccination program has been heavily criticized, with only 1.39 million doses administered so far – primarily among healthcare workers – in the nation of 126 million people and a rapidly ageing population. 

“The currently available vaccination cannot prevent the fourth wave of the pandemic,” Haruka Sakamoto, a physician and researcher at Keio University in Tokyo, told Reuters. 

Japan is due to host the Summer Olympics in just over 100 days.

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Japan has begun vaccinating its sizeable population of over-65s at some 120 sites across the country, but experts say the program is far too slow to prevent the fourth wave from gathering pace.

According to Japan’s health ministry, only 2,810 people in Tokyo are expected to get a shot from the first batch of Pfizer vaccines which was delivered around the country over the past week. Most regions have received 1,000 doses or fewer, as Japan starts vaccinations for its considerable elderly population on Monday. 

“We would like to deliver (the vaccines) to as many people as possible as soon as possible,” Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga said while touring a vaccination center in Hachioji, west of Tokyo.

On Monday, the capital also began a month-long period of tightened restrictions, including the closure of bars and restaurants at 20:00 and encouraging citizens not to travel out of the city unless necessary, as Covid cases build again. 

Also on rt.com
Japan clarified reports about athletes jumping vaccine queues. © Reuters
Japan rushes to deny Olympic athletes will jump coronavirus vaccine queue after social media backlash

Japan’s vaccination program has been heavily criticized, with only 1.39 million doses administered so far – primarily among healthcare workers – in the nation of 126 million people and a rapidly ageing population. 

“The currently available vaccination cannot prevent the fourth wave of the pandemic,” Haruka Sakamoto, a physician and researcher at Keio University in Tokyo, told Reuters. 

Japan is due to host the Summer Olympics in just over 100 days.

If you like this story, share it with a friend!

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