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Japan speeds up COVID vaccinations, reaches 1 million daily shots target

24 June 2021 19:40
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Japan speeds up COVID vaccinations, reaches 1 million daily shots target

TOKYO. KAZINFORM - Japan reached its target of administering 1 million coronavirus vaccine doses per day ahead of plan, the top government spokesman said Thursday, Kyodo reports.

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Facing criticism for a slow inoculation rollout, Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga had pledged 1 million doses a day to be administered nationwide by the middle of this month.

The goal was actually reached on June 9, Chief Cabinet Secretary Katsunobu Kato said at a press conference.

A total of 8.7 percent of the country's population of 125 million have received two shots, while 19.5 percent have received one shot, Kato said, though the figures still lag behind other developed nations. The government aims to finish vaccinating everyone eligible among Japan's population by November.

The inoculation program was launched in February for front-line health workers, expanded to those 65 and older in April and more recently to those under 65.

The vaccine rollout received a boost after state-run mass vaccination centers opened in May and the pace picked up further with the start this month of on-site vaccinations at workplaces and university campuses.

It remains unclear, however, whether the pace can be maintained. The government said Wednesday it is temporarily halting company applications for inoculations at workplaces due to concerns it will be unable to distribute doses quickly enough.

Applications for large-scale vaccination sites set up by prefectures will also stop immediately, Taro Kono, the minister in charge of the inoculation effort, told a press conference.

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