Japan’s current wave of COVID-19 infections has mostly affected its younger generations. And shows the covid surge in Japan reflecting both the efficacy of its vaccination program among the elderly and the pitfalls of a slow rollout that still hasn’t reached most of the youth population.
Those in their 20s and 30s in the capital of Tokyo now make up a larger proportion of new infections than the previous wave in January. The sudden surge was non-existent before the vaccination program started.
Japan’s current wave of COVID-19 infections
Japan’s current wave of COVID-19 infections is unique. Past surges have started with infections concentrated in younger people, who are generally more socially active, and then later spread to the elderly who are typically, less mobile.
Japan’s vaccination rollout, which started late compared to other developed nations, has progressed quickly since early summer. About 46% of the population are fully vaccinated, including nearly 90% of those 65 or older. Local governments decide who gets priority, and most have made shots available in successive age brackets, causing a large difference in coverage between age groups.
But the current wave in Japan, which has taken nationwide daily cases to more than 25,000 in the worst numbers reported yet, has largely remained a scourge among the young. In many wards of Tokyo, less than 20% of those in their 20s and 30s are fully vaccinated.
Vaccine shortages Japan & The covid surge in Japan
Although Japan has guaranteed supplies of the Pfizer Inc. and BioNTech SE shots coming in, it had issues earlier this year with distributing shots to where they’re needed most across the country causing vaccine shortages Japan.
So much so that the government rolled out the AstraZeneca vaccine to cope with the demand and quash any potential civil unrest, especially amongst the youth.
The Japanese government has long pointed to the relatively low mortality as a measure of its success in the pandemic, but that is losing support among the public. Over the past week, deaths of patients in their 20s and 30s have made news headlines and added to the tension surrounding Japan’s current wave of COVID-19 infections.