Vaccinations for elderly to begin in populous areas in limited supply

Mar 13, 2021 – 19:09 KYODO NEWS

Photo shows a COVID-19 vaccine shot being given at Nagoya Medical Center in Aichi Prefecture, central Japan, on Feb. 19, 2021. (Kyodo) ==Kyodo

TOKYO – At least 30 out of 47 prefectures in Japan plan to start coronavirus vaccinations for the elderly in populous areas, as supplies in the first batch are expected to be limited when the rollout begins next month, a Kyodo News survey found Saturday.

While 12 other prefectures have yet to decide on a plan, declined to respond or plan to announce one later, the rest said they will begin inoculations in areas such as remote villages and islands as prefectural governments struggle to find effective means under the limited supplies, according to the survey conducted from March 8 to 12.

Japan is in the process of inoculating 4.8 million health care workers and plans to expand the vaccine program to include people aged 65 or older from April 12 as it aims to secure vaccines for the group of about 36 million people by the end of June.

The populous Tokyo, Osaka and Kanagawa prefectures will receive enough vaccines for around 2,000 people, with others scheduled for 1,000 people in the first batch.

In the survey, 30 prefectures such as Kanagawa and Tokushima said they will begin vaccinations of the elderly in their capitals or areas including the capitals, while Okinawa, Tottori and three others said their capitals are excluded from destinations for first inoculations.

Vaccinations in Tokyo are to be conducted in Setagaya, which has the largest population among its 23 wards, and Hachioji in western Tokyo. Osaka Prefecture plans on distributing its share of vaccines to all of its 43 cities, villages and towns.

Seven prefectures including Toyama and Shizuoka said they would make an announcement soon or declined to answer, and five others such as Fukushima, Fukui and Kochi are still working on plans.

Cr. KYODO NEWS