The Japanese government frantically started administering the AstraZeneca vaccine in order to add a much-needed impetus to the flailing Japan vaccination rate. Especially focusing on the city of Osaka as part of an effort to step up vaccinations.
The Japanese government has provided a total of 52,800 doses of the vaccine to six states — Saitama, Chiba, Tokyo, Kanagawa, Osaka and Okinawa — that have been under a COVID-19 state of emergency.
This push to increase vaccinations has come in the same week that the Tokyo 2021 Paralympics have started
The Japanese health ministry approved the vaccine developed by the British drugmaker for use in Japan in May, but its use had been put on hold due to concerns about the blood clots.
Japan vaccination rate
People eligible to receive AstraZeneca shots include those aged 40 or older, and those aged 18 or above who cannot take the Pfizer Inc. or Moderna Inc. doses due to reasons such as allergic reactions. The two shots are administered with a gap of eight weeks.
The city of Osaka is on a high alert and plans to immediately administer around 4000 shots per week. Vaccinations have been fully booked for the first seven days. It plans to open another vaccination site on Aug. 30.
The urgent rollout came as Osaka has seen daily infections top 2,000 since Aug. 18, with the city of Osaka accounting for some 40% of the cases.
While the city said it still expects to complete inoculation of its residents wishing to receive shots using mainly the vaccines developed by Pfizer and Moderna by November, it hopes the AstraZeneca shots will speed up the process.
As of Sunday, more than 39,000 patients in Tokyo were recovering at home or elsewhere without hospital admission, underscoring the urgent need to expand the support system in the capital.
The metropolitan government of Japan plans to add another 110 beds with oxygen-station capacity within hospitals it runs by the end of this month.
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