© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Security guards stand guard near the Olympic Rings monument during a rally by anti-Olympic protesters outside the headquarters of the Japanese Olympic Committee during the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in Tokyo, Japan on May 18, 2021 REUT
By Rocky Swift
TOKYO (Reuters) – Less than 30% of medical professionals in Japan’s major cities were vaccinated against COVID-19 just 65 days before the Tokyo Olympics began, the newspaper reported on Wednesday, which was canceled.
Cabinet figures released this week showed that three months after Japan’s COVID-19 vaccination spurt, less than 40% of medical workers were fully vaccinated.
The problem is particularly pronounced in Tokyo, where the Games are due to take place starting July 23, and other large population centers where the rate of fully vaccinated medical workers was less than 30%, the Nikkei reported.
Much of the vaccine supply has been concentrated in large hospitals and there have been problems with the reservation systems for medical staff, the newspaper said.
The slow introduction of doctors and nurses was one of the complaints made by medical groups who opposed hosting the Games as Japan struggled to contain a surge in infections.
Much of Japan, including metropolises Tokyo and Osaka, is in a state of emergency until the end of the month to counter a fourth wave of infections. Southern Okinawa Prefecture said Wednesday it would be requesting its own emergency statement as new infections hit record highs.
The government aims to vaccinate most of its 36 million people over 65 by the end of July. To achieve this goal, the government is hoping to fire about 1 million shots a day, about three times faster than the current pace.
To date, only 3.7% of Japan’s 126 million people have received at least one COVID-19 vaccine, the lowest rate among rich countries. Initially, the raid was a small supply of vaccines developed by Pfizer Inc (NYSE 🙂 and BioNTech SE (NASDAQ :), the only ones to have been approved by regulators to date.
But inbound shipments of the Pfizer shot increased dramatically in May, and the government is expected to approve Modern (NASDAQ 🙂 Inc’s candidate for this week for use in mass vaccination centers. The shot developed by AstraZeneca (NASDAQ 🙂 PLC is also tested by the national regulatory authorities.
As supply shortages have decreased, problems with vaccine reservation systems and labor shortages have emerged. The government said Wednesday it is considering whether pharmacists can give the injections after making a similar decision about dentists last month.
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