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Japan begins mass vaccination as Olympics near


Japan on Monday launched a mass vaccination campaign in at least two provinces as Olympics and Paralympics games near.


Two state-run COVID-19 vaccination centers were opened in capital Tokyo and Osaka province “in a bid to accelerate an inoculation program that has lagged far behind other developed countries with just two months remaining before staging the Olympics”, Tokyo-based Kyodo News reported.


“The government will continue to make all-out efforts so that as many people as possible can be inoculated as quickly as possible," Katsunobu Kato, Chief Cabinet Secretary, told a news conference today.


Japan is set to host delayed Olympics from mid-July. The world’s biggest games were scheduled for 2020 summer but were delayed due to raging coronavirus.


Doctors and nurses from Self-Defense Forces will use Moderna Inc. vaccine and will work for three months from morning to late evening with no holidays. Japan started its vaccination program, later February with Pfizer Inc vaccine. Germany’s BioNTech vaccine has also been approved.


Authorities have set a target of 10,000 people getting vaccine a day in Tokyo and 5,000 in Osaka. If the target is met, Japan will complete vaccinations by the end of July of people aged 65 or older, along with those turning 65 in the current fiscal year, the report added.

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