Japan opens mass vaccination sites for elderly ahead of Olympics
Japan opened two mass inoculation centres on Monday as the country races to vaccinate most of its elderly population against COVID-19 before the start of the Tokyo Olympics, Reuters reports.
The centres in Tokyo and Osaka will vaccinate thousands of people every day, giving a boost to Japan's sluggish inoculation drive as officials battle a fourth wave of infections.
"It's better to get it early," said Tetsuya Urano, 66, a central Tokyo resident who was among the first to be vaccinated at the Tokyo centre. "It went pretty smoothly all in all."
Housed in a building normally used for tax administration, the Tokyo facility will operate 12 hours a day to dispense shots to some 10,000 people daily for the next three months. The site in Osaka, Japan's western metropolis, will build up to about 5,000 shots a day.
Mass vaccination facilities are also planned for Nagoya, Kobe and other major cities.
Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga charged the Defense Ministry last month with setting up the centres to speed up the country's vaccination programme.
The fourth wave of infections has led authorities to make state of emergency declarations covering much of the country, including Tokyo, raising some concerns about the decision to press ahead with the Olympic Games due to begin on July 23.